Recent entries

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6303 Copy


    At the time of Steelheart, are there any regions (besides those mentioned in Firefight) that are uninhabitable?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Not many in the states, but nukes WERE used fighting the Epics. There are some irradiated areas around the world.

    And, another poster just reminded me that people are doing a Role Play for the Reckoners, which is the source of these questions. So for that context, I might be able to dig up some more info for you on your questions.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6304 Copy


    What are the extent of Snowfall's powers and territory?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have notes on this, but if I come back to the Reckoners world in the future, I don't want to be locked into things I say here. Part of the point of mentioning Epics like this is to foreshadow for future books, but not leave myself too locked in, so I can construct the story I need to.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6305 Copy


    In Steelheart you mention the Coven, a group of Epics that I've found immensely intriguing ever since hearing their name. Is there anything you can say about their group or one of their members?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A member of the Coven will appear in Calamity, and others will be referenced.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6306 Copy


    How do you pronounce Sazed in your mind? Is it Saysd, Say-Zid, or Say-Zed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I say Say-zed, as does Kelsier. But he has a different accent from Sazed himself, who might say it differently among his people.


    I'm actually surprised it wasn't Saysd. Now it's going to take me a little longer to get through book 3 with that extra syllable in my head!

    Brandon Sanderson

    If it helps, I feel that's pretty close to the way the Terris would say his name.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6307 Copy


    Was White Sands inspired by that one episode of Writing Excuses, where you guys brainstorm sea travel on a tidally locked planet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question! White Sand was actually my first novel, written starting in 1994. It wasn't very good, but I took another stab at it in 1998, and that version was far better. (It's the version I'm adapting to the graphic novel.) It was tidally locked from the get-go, as I found the idea of a planet with a "Dayside" and a "Darkside" very interesting as a fantasy world.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #6308 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some statistics/fun facts on [Calamity]:

    • The Book Guide (my planning file) was started in late December, but that was mostly made of me grabbing the notes for this specific book out of the general outline file for the trilogy, and pasting them in here.
    • Chapter One was started January first.
    • Chapter Fifty was finished May 5th.
    • Includes the shortest prologue I've ever done, at 61 words.
    • I wrote 13,200 (somewhere around 12-13% of the book) words yesterday across around thirteen hours. (With a break to go watch Ultron in the middle.)
    • This series is unique in that I wrote the first chunk of it years ago, around 2008, but then didn't have time to return to the project until a few years back. Unlike many of my series, I didn't plan out the entire trilogy before the first book--I wrote the first book, sold it, then put together an outline for all three books.
    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6309 Copy


    Love you work, spent way to many late nights reading your series. any chance the latest Mistborn books you wrote will be much longer? The series has so much potential that I feel like you weren't able to fully draw out in the shorter length of Alloy of Law.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The new Mistborn novels will be Alloy-length, but since I plotted the three of them as a trilogy, they should have a little more weight to them across books--adding some of that depth you're wanting.

    When I get to Era Three (the 1980s spy mistborn books) they will return to the length of the original trilogy.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6310 Copy


    Hail Brandon Sanderson, Master Worldsmith

    That's the nature of my question, I'm not quite sure how to make it broad enough, but just how did you birth Roshar? Let alone the entire Cosmere? I find it too easy to view the worlds I've built in my own writing as silly or contrived. Do you see yours in dreams or did you construct yours? Please, I would be personally grateful for the backstory on how these places were forged.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Building these worlds was a long, long process. Most of that process, however, was in building myself--creating a practiced writer who had build enough worlds that he got an instinct for what created good conflicts and settings, and what did not. So the best thing you can do is keep practicing and writing.

    In more specifics, Roshar's origin was in studying the great storm of Jupiter. I went with the idea of a constant, traveling storm, then tried to build the ecology off of that idea. From there, I asked myself how this affected sapient beings, and how I could use the storms to shape culture, and how the characters I was planning to use could interact with it.

    Most of this comes down to instinct now, though. Keep writing, and don't stress too much about whether you are silly or contrived. We all feel that way at some point. Put characters into the worlds we care about, and let the rest sort itself out.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6312 Copy


    I'm like a previous poster and making a reddit account so I can ask you a question about the Alloy of Law setting. How fast would you say technology is developing at that time? I ask because I tried to start a Mistborn game with my friends and they decided they wanted to build a zeppelin and give the rail companies competition due to party grudges against the rail barons.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Zepplins are totally believable for that era in Mistborn. (Also, rail barons are basically a big theme of upcoming books, so you guys are totally in line with where the story is going anyway.) Tech on Scadrial is following a kind of loopy progress, both because of the Metallurgic Arts and because of the artificial suppression of some technological paths by the Lord Ruler. So you can make arguments for just about anything.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6313 Copy


    I was re-reading through Vin's fight with Zane, and I think that her method of killing him might be more complicated than necessary. Here is the strategy I would use to fight a mistborn with atium (assuming I have no atium myself or electrum). First I would use a duralumin enhanced soothing to deaden everything except complacency. I would at the same time use a duralumin enhanced riot to spike their sense of complacency. I would then go for the jugular with a duralumin enhanced pewter slash. I think this strategy has a good chance of victory since atium does not show what is going on inside of you, only what you will physically do. Therefore, your enemy will not see the emotional allomancy coming which gives you a few seconds to work with as he is stunned. By the way, if you do not think complacency is a riotable emotion replace it with love. What do you think? Does my strategy have a chance of success?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I like this strategy. Thinking outside the proverbial box. I think it has a good chance of succeeding, depending. Remember, emotional Allomancy is NOT mind control. And a duralumin-fueled blast of emotion is going to draw a lot of attention to itself, but will still be stunning. So yes, I'd say this is a valid method of taking on someone with atium.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6314 Copy


    Why doesn't Nighwielder's weakness penetrate his blanket over Newcago when it does pierce the shadow tendrils he attacks David with? Could the reason be that his clouds act as some kind of "security blanket" if for example he got his weakness from being stranded in the dessert clouds like his would have protected him from the sun, which keeps the UV-rays of the sun from triggering his weakness, because they can't recreate the situation it originates from.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've been dodgy about answering this one, as I thought I might get into it in Book Three, but as I work on it I don't know that I am. The answer is actually pretty simple--it's for the same reason that someone manifesting Regalia's weakness in Babilar doesn't make the waters suddenly retreat. Or that Steelheart's powers didn't leave pockets of open material around anybody who hadn't ever heard of him. (Which is where this exception started in my mind, as without it, the first book would never have worked.)

    Basically, I had to make the rule that a large scale, general use of the powers had a kind of immunity to the weakness--one of diffusion. But the general spreading of the powers on the large scale were also far less precise. (For example, Nightwielder could cloud the sky with darkness, but not stop rain from falling.)

    Otherwise, you could just find the pockets where the Epic's powers on the grand scale were not working, and easily figure out their weakness. Hence, engaging Nightwielder directly ruins his immediate powers, but on the grand scale the darkness remains in place over the city.

    It's the only way I could make the powers work on the grand scale I wanted, in turning Newcago to Steel or sinking NYC.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6315 Copy


    What exactly is needed to make a motivator? In Firefight they operated on Oblivion to build the bomb, yet people still trade with any amount of Epic cells. Does the amount simply relate to power or is there something else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is covered in detail in book three. I've been pretty sneaky about some of this setup, on purpose.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6317 Copy


    Concerning the terminology for Epics, the definitions given for High Epics and a prime invincibility are effectively the same, meaning every High Epic should have one. However, in Steelheart David says that only a couple of the hundredths of High Epics in Newcago have one. Did David change his terminology between books or is there another reason. (I would also appreciate definitions for what differentiates a minor from a lesser Epic.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Prime invincibility is the cream of the crop of High Epic, in David's estimation. The hardest of the hard to kill. However, other people define things differently. "High Epic" means "I have a power that, if you stand there and try to shoot me, it doesn't work." That's why in his definition, Regalia doesn't fit the bill--though many others would say her power of keeping herself hidden as she does would totally count. All a matter of semantics, but to him, there's a specific gradation.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6318 Copy


    With Jasnah not being dead when we thought she was dead and Szeth coming back to life; how will you retain tension during future battles if the audience thinks that death might not be the end of someone?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I try hard to make sure things like this are well foreshadowed, but it's always a concern as a writer. Basically every book you write, in an action/adventure world, will contain fake outs like this.

    There's certainly a balance. Gandalf coming back in LOTR worked, and Anakin turning out to be alive Empire Strikes back is a powerful moment--but I feel RJ, for example, may have brought people back too often.

    Not sure where this balance is for me yet. I know the story I want to tell, though, and I try to leave clues when something like this is going to happen so that it feels less like a fake out and more like an "Aha. I knew it."

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6319 Copy


    Will we ever see you write a series with a non-rigid magic system? Not that there's anything wrong with allomancy etc. (they're pretty cool to be honest), but I would be really interested in seeing you handle something vague.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I understand exactly what you mean, and I've played with some, but they don't work as well in the Cosmere. I think I might be able to slip one in, or, do something non-Cosmere.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6321 Copy


    The Kandra were my favorite part of the Mistborn series. What was your inspiration for them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For the kandra, I started with the idea that a thieving crew would need a good "inside man" type, who could do costumes. None of the powers fit this, but I knew I also wanted to foreshadow Hemalurgy. From there, developing them was an organic process digging deeply into the history and worldbuilding I was doing.

    The idea of the wolfhound kandra appealed to me a great deal before even starting the first book, and was where I targeted my plotting after it struck me.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6322 Copy


    As a women, I loved reading about Vin who was a strong female leading character in Mistborn. It's not something easily found in the fantasy world unfortunately. While I loved Vin, I felt pretty sad after reading about the swooning-over-an-older-man tripe that was Marasi in The Alloy of Law. It felt like kind of a 360 for me after reading about Vin.

    I really loved Mistborn and The Way of Kings was great, but I am just wondering if you are planning any more work with strong female leads?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Marasi was designed specifically to be a contrast to Vin, and to put her in a place where she really had some growth to do. I spent periods of time as a Marasi (though, in my case, swooning over women) when I was younger. I think most of us are like that at some point in our lives, and I like trying characters with different types of arcs and personalities, so I suggest giving her a little time.

    I have several stories in the works I think will fit this conversation, though when they come out will really depend on timing. The 1980's era Mistborn series also has a female lead, as does one of my YA projects.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6323 Copy


    Out of the genres you haven't written in, which one do you really want to give a shot?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmmm... Noir. Maybe true urban fantasy, though I have one unpublished manuscript in that genre, which means technically I have given it a shot.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6324 Copy


    At what point did you first realize that you had fans scouring your works for hints of the Cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right around Mistborn Three's release--while I was working on Warbreaker, I think--where people started to realize this "Hoid" thing was relevant.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #6325 Copy


    I am currently fascinated by your decision to alter the ending to WoR. I understand it was especially necessary for you considering how intent and self realization are inherently tied to the surgebinding magic system. It must have been a tough decision to move forward with a mass change like this nonetheless. What are the logistical implications? Do you know the time frame or if it will be possible at all to change the audiobooks? I'd think at the earliest those wouldn't be possible until the third book comes out (since Michael Kramer and Kate Reading will already be in the booth) but I'm just guessing at this point. How will the roll out of WoR 2.0 proceed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was a tough decision. I think Lucas has ruined doing things like this for a lot of people, and I was certain many readers would dislike it. (Turns out, there have been fewer voices against it than I'd assumed.)

    One of the things I'll be doing is making sure Book Three works with either version of the ending. I consider the changes minor. The big reason I made the swap, however, was that (I hope) these books will be read for years to come, and I wanted to get the right ending.

    It shouldn't be TOO bad logistically. Remember, the changes shouldn't matter too much for the story as a whole. We will be changing the audiobooks if we can, however, but you're probably right--book three will be when it happens.

    I don't plan this to be a common occurrence, but at the same time, I was increasingly certain I wanted this tweak made. So I did it for my own peace of mind, though I figured the majority of fans would rather I not.

    General Reddit 2014 ()
    #6327 Copy


    Progress on Rithmatist 2?

    I haven't been on Brandon's site for a while, but I swear that I had seen a progress bar for second Rithmatist book. Now that I take a look again, it has disappeared. Does anyone know what happened to it? Did he finish writing it, or is it on hold?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've finished an outline I'm quite satisfied with, and have done a great deal of research into indigenous South American cultures in order to write the book--but that research was extensive enough that by the time I finished, I needed to move on to get the next Mistborn book done in time. Because deadlines are coming due, I will need to do Calamity after that.

    Rithmatist, like Warbreaker and some of my other fun side projects, has to take a back seat occasionally to higher profile projects. But I do plan to write it in the near future.

    General Reddit 2014 ()
    #6328 Copy


    So, I started reading Mistborn not longer after finishing [Wheel of Time]...

    Why does it seem so intentional that they're a parallel? That Mistborn is set in a 4th age a cycle in either direction from Randland? Well, more the close of the 4th, beginning of the 5th, as the influence of the Dragon/HoA is ending. The Deepness is basically exactly the Dark One, what the Hero of Ages had to go through reminds me very much of Rand's tribulations, hell, his diary could have been written by Rand himself. And what did Rashek do after killing off The Hero of Ages? He became Nae'blis and quickly established unquestioned rule over the world as God-Emperor.

    Even how the Deepness attacked the Hero, trying to convince him he was insane, filling him with doubt that he could possibly succeed, or rule, it totally fits how the Dark One tries to break his foes rather than simply destroy them outright.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mistborn was inspired by my love of the classic fantasy stories from my youth, Wheel of Time at their forefront. The original idea was for a Shannara-esque fantasy epic where the heroes lost at the end, but I decided (for many reasons) this wouldn't be fun to read or write. The idea simmered for a year or two until I realized it would an awesome backstory for the heist story/epic fantasy mashup I'd been developing.

    And so, I worked to make Rashek's story as resonate with classic fantasy epics as I could. I wanted that resonance so that I could play with the tropes of epic fantasy.

    Remember, Wheel of Time was a huge influence upon me as a youth and a writer. I knew I couldn't just write ANOTHER farmboy saves the world story, as I felt those had been done (and done well.) I wanted something that had one foot in this, however, and one foot in a more contemporary style of plotting and worldbuilding.

    So everything you're noticing is indeed intentional. Mistborn is my vision of a world where Rand gave in. (Or where Frodo kept the ring, etc.) I wrote the trilogy primarily in 2004-2006, ending one year before I was chosen to finish the Wheel of Time, which makes the parallels even more interesting.

    General Reddit 2014 ()
    #6329 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    We post the artwork on my website under the book's individual heading, so don't worry--you can go look at it all there. The trick is that some of it is slightly spoiler-ish, the maps in particular. So you might want to be careful which pieces you look at when.

    We're actually planning to release a little free app for mobile that will include all these things, along with a glossary, for audiobook people.

    General Reddit 2013 ()
    #6330 Copy


    Are you tempted to write some content for an RPG like Patrick Rothfuss is doing for Torment? Love the books by the way.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The thing that would most tempt me would be doing Magic: The Gathering content, as that is my nerd obsession. I could foresee doing some kind of RPG content, however. Depends on the project and how behind on things I'm feeling.

    General Reddit 2013 ()
    #6331 Copy


    Just realized what Shardblades remind me of..

    In my head, they remind me a lot of Keyblades from Kingdom Hearts. The blade appearing out of nowhere when you hold out your hand seems rather similar. They're also both highly coveted in their universes and for both types each blade is different from the next (I think). Just wanted to see if anyone else noticed this or if I'm just crazy and have had way too much time to think waiting for Words of Radiance.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shardblades aren't inspired by keyblades specifically, though there is a core inspiration that might be shared by both myself and the creators. While I did play the first kingdom hearts game when it came out, the first draft of The Way of Kings was well under way when the game was released.

    However, I did play all of the final fantasy games--I had the first on original Nintendo, so get off my lawn, you kids. The origin of Shardblades relates to fantasy games and art in general, and the concept of the stylized sword which is also horribly impractical.

    In a lot of my writing, I react toward or against the fantasy archetypes of my youth in the 80s and 90s. When designing the Stormlight Archive, one of the things I asked myself was, "Can I make a situation where these oversized, over-stylized blades are actually practical? Why in the world would you need a weapon like that? And how do you actually use one?"

    Making the blades summonable seemed one of the only ways that carrying one around would be reasonable.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #6332 Copy


    You've said that while many of your books are interconnected "behind the scenes", you didn't want to put too much in the books themselves so readers didn't feel like they're missing information (HIGHLY paraphrased). Have your opinions changed on that given the size of your fanbase? When do you expect to have more crossover between worlds (as in major characters or plot points as opposed to cameos and subtle allusions)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I still think that keeping this to less is going to be better. However, it's going to be tougher and tougher to keep them separate, logically. As the worlds advance and more and more people begin dabbling in crossing planets, the signs will compound. I still intend to keep it from the forefront. There will be an increasing amount of this, however.

    General Reddit 2013 ()
    #6333 Copy


    [Steelheart] sounds really cool and I look forward to reading it! One thing I wonder about tho, is how you fit this into the shard multiverse? I1ll be honest and admit I'm not totally up to speed on all your books and all the meta-lore, but as far as I knew you had a pre-set number of possible worlds, all created by some unique piece of shard from a larger whole, right?

    So for this idea, did you happen to have a specific shard available that fit with the world, did you have an "undefined" shard you could use, or is this something separated entirely from the multiverse setting? Really curious about this as this whole concept as I know of it of the multiverse is really intriguing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So far, most of my deviation novels (Alcatraz, Steelheart, the Rithmatist) have not been part of the shared universe. Part of taking a 'breather' is letting my mind run free without continuity restrictions.

    Often, good restrictions can make for a more impressive story, but sometimes you have to be able to do whatever occurs to you, even if it doesn't fit the shared cosmology. So, Steelheart is not a shard novel. I HAVE set apart plenty of places that are less defined that I can tell shard stories in, but this isn't one of them.

    General Reddit 2013 ()
    #6334 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Fun fact: Hoid, the character who has shown up in each of my cosmere books, had a brief stint as one of my high school D&D characters. He didn't start life there, but I did try to build a character for him. So I've done the same thing. (Koloss made their first appearance in a game I ran, though they were far more demonic in nature.)

    General Reddit 2013 ()
    #6335 Copy


    Any plans you can share for the future of the Mistborn series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do want to get to the modern day trilogy eventually, but more and more, I've been itching to do a few southern continent books. They have a cool way of interacting with the magic.

    General Reddit 2013 ()
    #6336 Copy


    Is this book part of the Cosmere? Since it's based in Chicago I'm wondering if that maybe isn't the case?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, most of my "breather novels" are not Cosmere. The Cosmere requires meticulous planning and continuity. That's not usually good for what I'm looking to do when I take a break from a big project for a small one, though occasionally I can fit in a novella or such.

    General Reddit 2012 ()
    #6337 Copy


    I just finished The Way of Kings and have been told it will be a 10 book series which makes me worry when it's done I'll feel like I do about AMoL right now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If it helps, it's two five book arcs. The first five will draw to a natural conclusion. (Kind of how Mistborn one comes to its own conclusion, then two and three are in another arc.)

    /r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
    #6338 Copy


    I think you may have answered this one before, but where do you come up with your names for all your characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on the series. For Mistborn, I build a 'feel for certain regions and develop names using the linguistic rules of that region. The Central Dominance (and Elendel in this book) had a slightly French feel to the linguistics, and many of the names came from that paradigm.

    However, unique to the Mistborn world was the need to give people simple nicknames in a thieving crew sort of way. Wax, Clubs, Breeze, Mr. Suit, all of these are along those lines.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #6339 Copy


    1. In the part 2 epigraphs of Oathbringer, Michael reads Harmony's letter in Sazed's accent. Is that something you specifically told him to do, or did he figure that out on his own?

    2. By that same token, have there been other instances of you telling Michael and Kate "Read this with a specific accent" or "Make something memorable for this momentarily-appearing side character" (Jezrien the beggar comes to mind).

    3. In TWoK interlude 1, Michael doesn't read Demoux with the same accent as he did in Mistborn. That leads me to believe that Connection also emulates accent. When Dalinar used Connection to speak with the Azish, did he sound like an Azish speaking Azish, or an Alethi speaking Azish?

    4. Finally, this occurred to me as I was typing the previous question: How is Taln understandable to the modern characters of SA? He's been in Damnation for the past 4500 years, and there's been dramatic changes in the writing system. I assume that means similarly dramatic shifts in the spoken language too. I mean, today we can't really understand Old English, and that wasn't even 1 millennium ago. Has the spoken word really not changed that much, or is he using Connection? If he is, do all the heralds use it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    1.) I believe we warned him.

    2.) Yes, though Peter usually makes these calls (he checks with me on a few.) We do need to do this for translations sometimes too (gender an ambiguous-in-English voice, for example.)

    3.) We're better at this than we used to be. He probably should have had the same voice there. However, it can vary, depending on how the magic works. For example, Hoid--who is generally using Connection, rather than using languages--sounds like a native speaker. How you use the magic, how you view yourself, and things like that do influence this.

    4.) I'm on this one, and will have answers for you eventually. In original drafts of TWOK, back when it was supposed to be a mystery if Taln were a Herald or not, I believe Jasnah used this as evidence that he WASN'T one, actually. Suffice it to say that the Heralds have had to deal with this a lot, over thousands of years...

    General Reddit 2011 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I am hesitant to commit completely [to an Alloy of Law sequel], as I don't want too many open series. That said, I did end this one with more of a cliff-hanger than I had intended. Much that is happening here has relevance to the second trilogy. However, I do think I would be leaving Fans in a bad position if I didn't do more with these characters. It is likely, therefore, that there will be another book--though the second Stormlight book has priority.

    General Reddit 2011 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Kaladin Concept Art used in my pitch of the series to Tor in 2008. Done by the incredibly talented Inkthinker, who eventually produced all of Shallan's pieces for the final book.


    My god, that is sexy. Did he ever finish it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He did polished versions of all of the characters, though I prefer not to show them around very much. The reason for this is that I generally prefer the readers to be able to imagine the characters as they have in their own minds, which is why none of the illustrations in the books are actually of characters.

    On a more specific note, for this drawing, I've always preferred the rough version to the polished version. Something about the primal energy of this one is stronger. The polished one cleaned up the face, but for this picture, I feel that actually made it worse.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    He did finish this illustration, but the sketchy version looks better for some reason. There's also a Szeth concept piece, a part of which ended up in the book as Szeth's chapter icon.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #6342 Copy


    Allomancy can be such an internal form of magic... how would you see it being dealt with visually, if Mistborn were ever to have a TV/movie version?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Pushes and Pulls are going to be done (if this version of the film gets made) by having metals glow blue when an Allomancer is using their powers. There will be visual or auditory cues for the other powers as well.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #6343 Copy


    Allomancy is such a unique form of magic, in the fantasy realm of books. What was your inspiration in forming it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A mix of many things inspired Allomancy. The 'feel' of a magic that was really just a new branch of physics, as I spoke about in another post. Alchemy, which is fascinating to me from the standpoint of its place on the border, is another. Real scientists believed in Alchemy, but had to sort out that it was not scientific. It was a time of great thought, and a time when science and 'magic' were mixed in what now seems like strange ways.

    Dune was an inspiration (having a limited resource, though I didn't limit it nearly as much, to give an economic side to the magic.) Vector physics was a big influence, as was the fact that I wanted to write a heist story. I therefore designed powers that worked for thieves. The 'burning' of metals was chosen because it resonated with science--the basic way we gain energy is by ingesting things and breaking them down for chemical energy. I wanted something that felt like it had one foot in science, but was also very magical.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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    With all these complex magic systems in your books, do you have all the rules for them written down somewhere? Also, as the worlds are all in the same universe, are the magic systems related in any way to each other, or completely independent from each other?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have them all written down. Currently, I use a wiki--find it here--to keep track of all of it.

    The magic systems in cosmere books all conform to a few underlying rules. This came from my interest in physics, and its search for a 'unifying' theory. (Fascinating reading, if you haven't studied this.)

    In my books, there is a unifying theory of magic, so to speak.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #6345 Copy


    I've noticed some similarities between the father-son pairs of Dalinar/Adolin and Mormon/Moroni, was that intentional or did it creep in subconsciously? The M/M relationship is an incredibly powerful one for me and I'm glad to see it pop-up in unexpected places.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's not intentional, but it could certainly be unconscious influence.


    I've heard Brandon talk about these characters and he said that originally there was no Adolin. Dalinar was the only character speaking to both the belief and doubt of what he was experiencing. Brandon's Writing Group gave feedback that having one character flip-flop like that wasn't working, so Brandon developed Adolin to help express those doubts. What a great way to solve a problem, and the result is a wonderful relationship that immitates many powerful Father/Son stories.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're ALMOST right. Adolin wasn't a viewpoint character initially, but he was in the book during the draft you're talking about. (The one where I had to fix things.) But if I go back to Dalinar, the character, back in his origin (before I wrote the way of kings the first time, back in 2002) he did not have a son. It was his relationship with his brother and nephew (needing to take over the kingdom for a beloved brother who died, and rule it for a nephew--then have concerns about giving up power, and how much he should take) that was the origin of Dalinar.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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    You have, undoubtedly, mastered the fantasy genre. Do you ever see yourself writing science fiction?

    I ask because I remember reading two or three years ago on TWG that your plan is to make the second Mistborn trilogy set in a steampunk/industrialized world and the third and final trilogy in a more sci-fi setting. So I'm just wondering if that plan still holds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do plan to do SF in the future. The final Mistborn trilogy will indeed be sf, with a deep understanding of Allomancy and Feruchemy having allowed them to figure out a method of FTL travel. I also have a space opera I've been wanting to write. So far, no time.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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    Do soothing and rioting work on a telepathic or physiological level (or both)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Primarily telepathic, though the body does respond physiologically. After the Soother is gone, the emotion remains for a time, so long as it was a natural emotion. Strong soothing/riotings against a person's nature can wear off quickly, and the body react (sometimes) with a strong opposite emotion in response. A very good Soother/Rioter can inspire emotions that begin telepathic only, but then have a response in the body, so the emotion gets more cemented.

    General Reddit 2011 ()
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    Unless you are using it to describe a method of divination, X-mancy probably does not mean what you think it means. -mancy, from the Greek manteia ("divination") cannot be used to denote the magical manipulation or evocation of something. The root you are looking for is -urgy, from Greek ergon ("work").


    But fantasy books get a little leeway here because it's generally understood that English is being used as a proxy for an in-world language, so Greek etymology doesn't necessarily apply.

    And Brandon Sanderson's admitted that he knows what mancy means, and calling his magic system in Mistborn allomancy was simply a useful tradeoff.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I talk about this in the annotations, I believe.

    Language shifts. I believe this one has shifted far enough inside the target demographic (fantasy readers) that it would not confuse. In fact, I decided it would be MORE clear to use the 'wrong' term than the right one.

    I subscribe to a school of writing philosophy which believes that clarity trumps most other concerns, so I chose to do it this way. (Though this was a specific choice for the Mistborn world, where I was attempting to create resonance as an Earth analogue, so used more familiar sounding names for people and terms. Compare to Elantris, where I instead preferred in-world names and terms which might be harder to say/pronounce but added worldbuilding flavor.)

    General Reddit 2011 ()
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    [Mistborn] would be AWESOME cinematically, except I don't know how the internal use of the metals and their powers could be conveyed on screen.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The producers have some good ideas for giving visuals on those. Iron/Steel, for example, would make all sources of metal glow faintly blue on the screen while the allomancer is burning.