Recent entries

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6056 Copy

    Questioner

    Would you be able to write the... Second Ideal of the Truthwatchers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...It's a RAFO. There's a lot of stuff about the Truthwatchers in [Oathbringer], that's gonna make it complicated to do that, okay? ...Yeah, it's really complicated, and those are things I'm not gonna probably canonize for another couple of books, for reasons that will be very clear by the end of this book.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6059 Copy

    Questioner

    So, a Radiant's blade. When it takes other forms, does it take on any different properties? So, like, if Kaladin beat someone with the butt of his Sylspear, would it still do something in regards to the soul?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Would he still hit the soul? That is theoretically possible to make happen. It requires a lot of work. That is theoretically possible.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6061 Copy

    Questioner

    How much do you plot books? How much do you plan out what happens before you start writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am a plotter. I am very naturally-- I do a lot of extensive plotting. So, I would say I have, like, 90% of it before I start most books, thought I knock out like, 10% or 20% while I'm writing and change it if something better comes along. 

    Questioner

    Do you go chapter by chapter, or do you kinda just--

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's more like an outline of, like, "Here's my goal. And here are ways to achieve it." I do a whole lecture on it in the BYU lectures, if you're interested,  that are on YouTube.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6062 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there a limit to what the spren can become, like we've seen them become a blade or a spear or a shield, can they become, like-- I've heard hints of a bow and arrow. Can they become a sword and a shield or just one main thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, it is more expansive than people guess it is, but it is limited.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6063 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you come up with names that sound awesome?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's harder than it sounds, no pun intended... If you wanna know how to name things, find the podcast where we answer that on Writing Excuses, we go into in depth, that'll help you out. But basically I'm looking for, like, lists of baby names from languages that I don't speak, and trying to play with those names until I find something that sounds good.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6064 Copy

    Questioner

    So, how much time-- personal reading time to do you spend on different types of things: research versus classic versus other fantasy type--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say, boy-- most of my reading is fantasy. My reading for other things is eclectic; it's like, when I find something I'm interested in. I would say, of that, it's like, half just reading whatever I feel like reading and then taking notes, and half reading for research. But, I do a lot of audio books, and I do a lot of podcasts, I can do them while I'm signing books, and things. So, some of my reading recently has been like, Hardcore History, which is a podcast. Stuff like that.

    Questioner

    So, how many hours do you actually spend. Obviously, when you write, and you're signing, I understand that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Always, when I'm signing, I try to listen to, like, a book, or something like that. And then, I try to get in, like, an hour every night. I don't always get it, but that's what I try to do.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6065 Copy

    Questioner

    Does anybody every ask you to, like, write them? Like, people ask someone to draw them, but does anybody ask you to write them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, an artist asked me to write something for them. Yeah, I've actually had some artists say, "What if I painted a picture, and then you wrote a story for it." Which I think would be a really cool idea, we just have to wait for the right time to do that.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6069 Copy

    Questioner

    Which is your favorite of the ten fools, and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh-- I don't know. I honestly don't know.

    Questioner

    Can you give me a name of one of them, then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That I haven't named yet? Those are in the notes, I have to look those things up. I don't know. We're gonna do a ten fools painting for the next one, maybe. We were gonna do it for this one. I'm not sure who my favorite is. I'd have to sit and think about it, perhaps more time than we have right now. It's going to depend on Isaac's sketches of them and things like that. Maybe, uh, Jezrien's fool. Probably Jezrien's fool.

    Questioner

    What's the name of that one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can't remember. Like I said, I have 'em in a list. I have to go look at the notes and look them up every time. I don't use them, like, I just write--

    Questioner

    Not like the Heralds, that you're using all the time. They're just the ten fools.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, I just use, even when I'm writing, I'm like "Jezrien's Fool," and then I go look up the name of it.

    Miscellaneous 2016 ()
    #6070 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Warning, Evgeni. I'm really considering doing a backpedal on savants. The more i think about them, the less I'm not liking how my current course has them being treated in upcoming books. I think it deviates too far from my original vision.

    Argent

    Hey, I wouldn't normally contact you directly like this, but given that you thought it important enough to reach out and let me know you might change how savants work, I figured you probably wouldn't be too upset by this message. I replied to your Facebook comment, asking if you could clarify a little bit which aspects of savantism you are thinking of keeping and/or cutting. I don't need an essay on the topic (though you know I'd love one!), just some details on what we can consider canon for theories, and what we should be careful around.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Evgeni,

    So here's the problem. The more I dig into savants in the later outlines, the more I feel that I'm in a dangerous area--in that I'm disobeying their original intention. (Which is that using the power so much that it permeates your soul can be dangerous, a kind of uncontrolled version of a spren bond.)

    And so, I don't want to let myself just start making people savants right and left. It needs to be a specific thing. Wax is the troubling one, as I have him burning so much steel that he's well on his way, but isn't showing any side effects. If I'm going to give him savant-like abilities, he needs savant-like consequences.

    That's the danger, just falling back on savanthood to do some of the things I want, so often that it undermines the actual point and purpose of them in the cosmere lore.

    So if I backpedal, it will be to contain this and point myself the right way, sharply curtailing my desire to make people savants without their savanthood being an intrinsic part of their story and conflict in life. (Like it was for Spook, and is for Soulcasting savants on Roshar.)

    Feel free to share this.

    Argent

    Okay, so - if you do decide to go this route, I see the story implications (larger focus on consequences, less easy to get to the point where a character can be considered a savant). What I am not sure about is the potential for a mechanical change. Would a backpedal on your side cause a conflict with information you've shared with us, in or out of your books? Are you saying that it's possible that Wax won't be considered a savant (if you can't squeeze a good ramifications plot for him that doesn't contradict the apparent lack of consequences so far, for example)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't decided on anything yet. It's mostly consequences for the future--just a kind of, "be aware I'm not 100% pleased with how Wax turned out, re: savanthood and Allomantic resonance."

    The idea of resonance is that two powers, combined, meld kind of into one single power. This is a manifestation of the way Shards combine. Wax was intended as a savant of the two melded powers. But without consequences in his plot, I'm not confident that I'll continue in the same vein for future books.

    Footnote: The first message comes from Brandon reaching out to Argent (Evgeni) on Facebook with a follow-up regarding this entry. This rest is from a Reddit PM exchange between Argent and Brandon.
    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #6072 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Marsh was there in the village Elend attacked a few chapters back, by the way. That is where he went after Luthadel; he took charge of a group of koloss and began leading them around to destroy cities. When Elend came to get the koloss, he was commanded to hold onto them for a time—and make it tough for Elend—but then to give them up and let them go.

    He was the nearest Inquisitor to Fadrex, which is why he's the one who showed up to claim the nonexistent atium.

    General Twitter 2016 ()
    #6074 Copy

    Argent

    17th Shard user Treamayne made an interesting observation re: Surge glyphs - Can you comment? :3

    Isaac Stewart

    No comment yet on this specifically, tho I'll respond to something in that thread regarding names and "screw yous" within glyphs.

    Isaac Stewart

    Readers are trying to pronounce glyphs by reading them. Glyphs aren't read. They're memorized. Sounds might be found in glyphs.

    Isaac Stewart

    Glyphs have evolved from the early days. Just like the Chinese character for "tree" doesn't look like a tree anymore.

    Isaac Stewart

    Alethi glyphs are recognized by overall shape, not by the shapes/sounds that might be found within.

    Isaac Stewart

    For example, the Bridge 4 glyph is still recognizable even if the component shapes are changed.

    Isaac Stewart

    Hope this helps!

    Argent

    So let's see if I got it. The "kholin" glyphpair could, given enough time, no longer look like "khokh" & "linil"...

    Argent

    ... but still be recognizable as "kholin" due to its overall shape?

    Isaac Stewart

    That is correct. More ancient glyphs will have slowly morphed away from the original sounds found inside.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
    #6075 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Come on, guys, there are major major reasons Roshar can't possibly be a moon and one of the moons a gas giant. Think about it.

    digitalbusker

    Nobody ever remarks on how one of the "moons" takes up a quarter of the visible sky?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Each moon is in the sky only once per day and moves across the sky in a couple to a few hours. What does that tell us about their orbits?

    Could a gas giant be far enough away to look like a small moon, yet have this rapid of an apparent motion? (The answer is NO.)

    Kurkistan

    That they're really fast/close, I would think. Perhaps unusually so...  

    Peter Ahlstrom

    You may not be aware, but Mars's moon Phobos orbits in less than 8 hours, and gets less than 6,000 km from Mars's surface.

    Kurkistan

    Curses! Foiled again by SCIENCE!!!

    Okay, so the orbits aren't magically augmented.

    Still, that leaves us some information. The three moons are likely captured asteroids, then, rather than having split off from Roshar during its formation, Luna-style. Three captured asteroids at the same time in relatively stable, seemingly very close orbits... Anything significant in that, science people?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    I expect the moons were put in their current orbits artificially, but by whom or what I do not know. On astronomical terms, these are not stable orbits, but astronomical terms means millions of years. A few thousand or even a few hundred thousand years are no problem.

    By the way, I minored in astronomy while at the university, for expressly science fictional purposes.

    Leiyan

    Were the moons also artificially created, or were they originally formed naturally?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    I don't know.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #6077 Copy

    Argent

    Speaking of The Scar, all the other names on the map refer to a specific planet, right? Roshar, Sel, Nalthis, etc. The scar, as far as know, is more a region, yet it uses the same typography as the planets. What's up with that?

    Isaac Stewart

    Same typography because when I used other fonts, it looked way out of place. If there were more labels on this map, I would've used italics probably for this feature.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #6079 Copy

    Argent

    Is the relative positioning of the constellations' images significant in any way? For example, the Shardbearer is pointing his blade at the dragon/serpent/monster of the Scar, while Nalthian lady looks like she is blowing Sel's fire out. Do we need to be paying attention to those?

    Isaac Stewart

    This is more compositional than anything else. Though I wouldn't discount their positions entirely.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #6080 Copy

    Argent

    Are all the constellations symbolic in nature? If so, can you fill in any gaps in my understanding of them (or expand on them, point out cool things I may have missed, etc)? I've got:

    • Roshar - Shardbearer (or maybe Herald). Pretty obvious, considering how dominant those are.
    • Nalthis - someone exhaling or giving Breath. Again, straightforward.
    • Threnody - a grieving woman? Because Threnody, like the other inner planets in the Threnodite system, all bear names related to grieving, mourning, that kind of stuff.

    Isaac Stewart

    All correct so far.

    Argent

    Taldain - a tree? Because of the importance of water on the world?

    Isaac Stewart

    A one tree. This is a symbolic reference to the Shard that resides on that world. The Coppermind says this: "Khriss writes that Bavadin supports a policy of strict isolationism for Taldain."

    Argent

    First of the Sun - a sailor? Because of how the natives live, traveling between the isles?

    Isaac Stewart

    A fisherman, actually. He's throwing his net out among the stars.

    Argent

    Sel - the lamp makes a lot more sense now, thanks! I don't think anyone had pointed out that Sel is inside the flame, not the lamp - but the lamp is so much dominant in the image, it was easy to focus on it :)

    Isaac Stewart

    Just repeating what I mentioned before in case I ever make this into a blog post. Sel's constellation is symbolic (as is the constellation Threnody is found in). As for the lamp, notice that Sel is not exactly part of the lamp. It's part of the flame. How does Aon Dor work? An Elantrian creates an opening for it to pour through and affect the world. Think of the flame as a symbol for the Dor. Does that make sense?

    Argent

    Scadrial - why is it absent? And is it really absent, or there but just not labeled (for whatever reason)?

    Isaac Stewart

    Scadrial's there. It's just part of the constellation I've been calling the Giver. Some worlds are closer together than others, so there wasn't room to give each world its own constellation.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #6081 Copy

    Argent

    I had been thinking about the Cosmere constellations map, and why certain constellations are what they are. Some look pretty obvious to me - of course the one that includes Roshar would be a Shardbearer, and of course the one with Nalthis would be somebody exhaling or giving Breath. But others? Threnody is maybe a part of a grieving woman, so that could kind of make sense, but Sel being featured in a lamp?! 

    So I asked Brandon, and he said the constellations were all you. He also encouraged me to convince you to write an essay for the website about this map, but I wanted to see if you could answer some questions about this map.

    Is this alright with you?

    Isaac Stewart

    Thanks for the email. I'll try to answer some of your questions, and you're right, an essay about the map on the website might eventually be the way to go. (Got to find time to write it.) The constellations weren't really all me. I had several discussions with Brandon, who made many suggestions. Maybe he forgets how much input he had. :) Unless he means the actual lines of the constellations. Those are purely me.

    Sel's constellation is symbolic (as is the constellation Threnody is found in). As for the lamp, notice that Sel is not exactly part of the lamp. It's part of the flame. How does Aon Dor work? An Elantrian creates an opening for it to pour through and affect the world. Think of the flame as a symbol for the Dor. Does that make sense?

    Send away with your questions. Maybe they'll help direct how I should handle the essay. :)

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #6082 Copy

    Argent

    Do the constellations have actual names you can share with us?

    Isaac Stewart

    Clockwise from Threnody: the Mourner, the Dragon, the Fisherman, the Giver, the Lamp, the Knight, and the One Tree. The names are a bit generic, mostly because they are working names I used to refer to the different constellations during the process of painting the piece. It should be noted that the people from the spot in the Cosmere where the night sky does look like this would not see these pictures in the constellations nor give them these names. The pictures the patron saw in the stars here are based on their own observations and knowledge about the Cosmere as a whole. The locals would see entirely different pictures in their stars, for those who can even see the stars from their vantage.

    One tidbit I should mention is that the lamp used to be a constellation called the Lover and was a man receiving breath from the Giver. I dropped it mostly because it's reference to Devotion wasn't working visually. Another thing to note: Not all the stars on this chart are physically within the Cosmere. Some are in the parts of Space beyond the Cosmere.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #6083 Copy

    Argent

    What perspective is this constellation map seen/drawn from? Somebody from an earlier signing in this tour said they spoke with you about this, and you mentioned Silverlight, but not exactly... I got the impression that your reply wasn't transcribed verbatim  Can you address the perspective issue here? We now know that Silverlight is in the Cognitive Realm (where the stars don't necessarily match their physical arrangement, if they are visible at all), so if you worried about accidentally revealing that earlier, it's no longer an issue.

    Isaac Stewart

    The map was created to reside in Silverlight and represents a partial view of the night sky from a point we have not yet revealed. So, no, this is not a view of the night sky from Silverlight. This is a mural painted for a patron whose travels have taken them far far afield.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #6084 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Also, as a note, Alendi was an Allomancer, as the epigraph notes here. He had to be—he heard the pulsing at the Well of Ascension when nobody else could. "Ah," you might say, "but I thought that you said Allomancy didn't exist before those beads." That isn't 100% true. The legends say that Allomancy came with the Deepness. Alendi was one of the very first Allomancers, and he gained his powers as the mists began to cover the world.

    That's important. ;)

    Because, of course, he was Snapped by the mists, like is happening to people in this book.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
    #6086 Copy

    aeromancer (paraphrased)

    So would it be possible to use Steelrunning + compounding to travel FTL?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No, it would not. You could get close, though.

    aeromancer (paraphrased)

    Kind of like Zemo's Paradox, than? You keep halving the distance, never quite making it?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    *gleam in his eye* Trying to crack Allomatic FTL?

    aeromancer (paraphrased)

    *guilty* Maybe.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    You can't.

    aeromancer (paraphrased)

    I don't know, there are alot of good theories out there.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It involves Allomantic abilities which we don't know about yet.

    Miscellaneous 2010 ()
    #6087 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    OK guys, help me out on this.

    Let's take a bubble where time is sped up inside, maybe to 10x, maybe to 100x. I'm thinking that if there is no light source inside the bubble, but all light comes from the area outside the bubble, to an observer outside the bubble all light that goes inside and gets redshifted will get blueshifted back the same amount when it exits the bubble. So the outside observer won't see a color change at all. (I'm ignoring refraction for the purposes of this post, but someone else may elucidate.)

    The person inside the bubble will see a redshift of all light coming into the bubble--but will also see far fewer photons per second, so the world will go dim or even black.

    At low time-speedups, the person in the bubble will see UV light shifted into the visible range, so will start effectively seeing in UV. At very fast speeds he can see X rays or even gamma rays. (I don't know from Brandon what the max speedup is.)

    If the person inside the bubble turns on a flashlight, this will be shifted into the UV or X-ray range when it leaves the bubble. You can fry everyone around you with deadly radiation this way.

    When you have a bubble that slows time, the opposite happens. People inside can see in infrared or radio waves. And if they go slow enough, visible light from the outside is shifted into the X-ray or gamma-ray range and the person inside gets fried by radiation. If they turn on a flashlight, people outside get cooked.

    Can anyone point out flaws in this analysis? Does anyone have magical suggestions for why any of these things wouldn't happen?

    For practical reasons it looks like there will need to be a lot of handwavium burned.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #6090 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    We're moving in the story, timewise, much more quickly here than we were at the beginning of the book. Often there will be a week or so between chapters. It's kind of hard to tell in my books, as I don't talk very often about time passing. That's not one of my things; my books tend to feel very compressed, as if they happen over the course of a few days. However, each of the Mistborn books has covered many months—the first one covered almost an entire year. The nature of the Final Empire, where it tends to have very mild winters, makes the changing of seasons rough to follow.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #6098 Copy

    Klokkan

    Hello Mr. Sanderson, I have a question about bendalloy bubbles—what happens to a human that is partially in and partially out of the bubble when it's placed? Does the difference in the flow of time kill him?

    And, if yes, is the boundary of active bendalloy bubble effectively impassable for living organisms? I get that bullets shot out of the bubble randomly change directions, but what happens to, let's say, a person trying to jump out of the bubble (or, given enough time, a person trying to get inside)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Any living thing touching the bubble is affected by the bubble.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #6100 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Five

    One of the problems with The Way of Kings Prime was it had too many characters competing for the limelight. It lacked focus. One could argue that the published The Way of Kings is kind of all over the place itself—indeed, a lot of the plot threads don't connect until the end. (And then only in some limited ways.)

    In the published book, I feel it works. Yes, the book is expansive, but we really only have two locations for our plot: the Shattered Plains and Kharbranth. In Prime, Jasnah and Taln both had major sections of the plot, in addition to Kaladin, Dalinar, Szeth, and the character Shallan replaced. It was just too much, and the thing never pulled together.

    Fixing this was one of my main goals for revising the book. I started The Way of Kings over from scratch during 2009, between writing The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight. I knew I needed a tighter narrative.

    At the end, I moved Jasnah and Taln out of the book for the most part. They will have stories later in the series, but for this book, Jasnah isn't a viewpoint character.

    I'll dig into Soulcasting at another time.