Recent entries

    Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
    #6401 Copy

    BlackYeti

    With regards to the Dor, whereabouts is it located exactly, with regards to the Realms.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, you're the first to ask this one. It is in the Cognitive Realm... I think you might be the first one to crack that one. So, that's something that I've been dancing around for a while, waiting 'til people started to figure that one out. Now, that's not where most of them are.

    Leipzig Book Fair ()
    #6402 Copy

    Questioner

    Odium has, as I understand it, something like the meaning of God's divine wrath. How is wrath on its own able to cause such terrible destruction? I  mean, he primarily attacked di-Shardic worlds like Sel and Roshar, so could he just have sowed discord between Shards there to an extent of them actually fighting against each other and then just *inaudible*.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a good theory, that he got them to fight against each other. I won't tell you whether it happened or not, but it is a very valid theory. It's fully within his capacity; that's the sort of thing that he does.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #6404 Copy

    Questioner

    Is the sword at the end of Words of Radiance, is it the actual Nightblood from Warbreaker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is, actually. It's fun because when I first wrote Way of Kings in 2002, Vasher was one of the main characters. And then when I wrote Warbreaker in 2006, I wrote a book about him to do his past. And then when I re-wrote Way of Kings it's like, "Well, time for Vasher to come back." So he's been in Roshar, in my head, since the beginning, for some 20 years. But he wasn't-- He didn't originate there, but... He was one of the worldhoppers that I hid in the very first version. Which was a lot of fun to then be able to go write a book about him and come back.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #6405 Copy

    Questioner 1

    When Sazed is fighting Marsh he hears a voice telling him about his rings, in his head.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner 1

    Whose voice is that? Can-- Can I make some gueses?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sure.

    Questioner 1

    Is it Kelsier?

    Questioner 2

    *Brandon hands RAFO card?* What does that mean? *laughing*

    Brandon Sanderson

    That means I'm not gonna answer that. 

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #6406 Copy

    Questioner

    Do we ever get to see a good banter between Wit and Shallan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, you uh... She is not quite ready yet, to be on his level. And if you watch the series, her use of humor will mature. Um, in fact you should be able to notice a difference between these two even. By later books she will be able to stand a little bit better. Right now he would rip her to shreds.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6407 Copy

    Questioner

    So for Calamity, like about these others that you mentioned, are we ever going to figure that out? Or is just going to be...

    Brandon Sanderon

    Oh yeah, so the next series I’m doing deals with the greater-- kind of interdimensional travel and who are these people.

    Questioner

    Okay good, because I was like “You can’t leave me like this” at the very end.  I really liked how it was put together and stuff. My own theories were that David was actually, like his powers were actually figuring out Epics’ weaknesses...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I considered that, I really did. At the end of the day, when I brainstormed the trilogy I said you know what would be most fun for me in this series is to do a trilogy that is basically an origin story, for a character and then when I come back to The Reckoners, if I do, because the next one’s a parallel dimension, right?

    Questioner

    From where Firefight is, or from like other?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That -- we will get into why certain ones are stable and certain ones aren’t and why you can pull from and we’ll do something there with a new character. And if I come back, then Mizzy will be the main character in the sequel series.

    Questioner

    Awesome if you ask me, because I was always looking forward to more Mizzy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Does that make sense? That’s where the plan for these is, we’ll see how the new series goes, they’re announcing it next week. And the entirety of the magic system is based on interdimensional stuff.

    Questioner

    Right, especially with Megan and her--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep.

    Questioner

    --multiple hundred personalities coming together and stuff.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So it’s kind of like Megan has opened up this idea of a quantum multiverse, and now I’m going to do a quantum multiverse, which is not something I can deal with in the cosmere so it’s exciting for me to be able to do it.

    Questioner

    Yeah ‘cause the first one we see about the others I was like (okay cosmere fandom, but wait) this is not cosmere, don't worry about that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not cosmere.  Going straight-up quantum multiverse, in kind of a classical sense. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on string theory and things. It’s so hard, string theory breaks my brain.  Quantum mechanics break my brain.

    Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
    #6408 Copy

    Questioner

    So that bit at the end [of Words of Radiance] with Szeth. Getting that black sword...

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's setting up for book 3, which is going to be crazy.

    Questioner

    There's another book with a black sword...

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's the same sword, yes. In fact I wrote the original version of the Way of Kings involving the character who has that sword. He's in the first draft from 2002, then I wrote Warbreaker about him, then I wrote this.

    Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
    #6410 Copy

    Questioner

    What was Jasnah's last thought? Just pure curiosity, it's been on my brain for whatever *inaudible* been reading.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Have you read the book?

    Questioner

    Yeah, I'm on the last ten pages [of Words of Radiance].

    Brandon Sanderson

    Last ten pages.

    Her *pause* last thoughts were of escaping.

    Footnote: Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha. Ha. Brandon must have been restraining himself here.
    Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
    #6411 Copy

    Questioner

    Why did you gloss over *audio obscured* for Jasnah?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Again you'll want to read on, but Jasnah-- that was not going to happen in this book. In the initial plot it didn't happen, and Shallan was unable to, in the initial scenes I wrote, be able come into her own and so I had to make major revisions to the plot for this outline, the biggest thing I did was that. And once I did that the story started working.

    Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
    #6412 Copy

    Questioner

    When you were planning for Zahel being Vasher, how long did you [plan] that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher was in the 2002 version of The Way of Kings by name, as Vasher. I only changed him to the new name after I finished this entire draft. Because I'm like "oh, he'd probably go under a pseudonym". So he's in Roshar for 12 years our time—I mean I had written him 12 years ago, in Roshar.

    Questioner

    And what's he doing there? Why? Is that a RAFO?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll have to read the Way of Kings Prime but he is in there by name, it blew my assistant's mind when he went back and found it.

    He was doing much of the same thing that he did in this one. But in that book-- in Way of Kings Prime the big defining difference was that Kaladin took the Blade and Plate, and Zahel—or Vasher as he was named there—was his teacher then, and that was a much bigger part of the book because the book was about become-- you know. And it was the first book and him and his teacher, so yeah.

    Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
    #6413 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you know how you're going to write how Hoid travels between worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes I do. Yes. Yes there's a big clue in [Words of Radiance]. There is a very big clue in the very first book I published.

    Footnote: We know now that the trick is to jump into shardpools, or "perpendicularities". We see one in Elantris and Rock tells a story of Hoid coming out of one in WoR
    Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
    #6414 Copy

    Questioner

    When are we going to get Hoid’s book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid has 6 books, they are the 3 books of Dragonsteel, which are prequels and the last Mistborn trilogy of the nine book arc will have him as a main character. I won't say they're "his" books, but he is one of the primary protagonists.

    Questioner

    You think about five books into [The Stormlight Archive], or after this series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    After this series, the middle Mistborn books will happen in-between.

    Calamity release party ()
    #6424 Copy

    Questioner

    How much older is Wax than Wayne?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh... 17... 20 years... Something like that. No, no, no, not quite that much. It's more like 10 years isn't it?

    Isaac Stewart

    Which one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's see, I'm trying to remember how-- Wax is 40s... Wayne... Yeah, it's about 10 years.

    Calamity release party ()
    #6425 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wondering if you know, like, exactly how tall Kaladin is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um... Kaladin? 6'-4". But you've got to remember... People on Roshar are taller than people here. So like 6'-4" compared to someone else in Roshar. But it's a low gravity, high oxygen environment which means that he's probably more like 6'-8", or something like that. Like you're gonna see... But it-- that's only-- you know, like for instance their year is different than ours too, and things like that. If you just want to imagine him at 6'-4" that's fine.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6427 Copy

    Questioner

    I have a copy of your Dragonsteel master thesis, I haven't read it though.  And I was wondering, how you've grown as an author, do you like people to read that or would you rather they wait until you do the better version?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I-- I'm-- That one I don't really like people reading that much because it has an inferior version of Bridge Four that I don't want people to meet. Does that make sense? Like the Bridge Four team--

    Questioner

    ...And when you re-write it it will be better?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well Bridge Four won't even be in that book anymore I moved them to Roshar. So you go back and you find the version of Rock that is not quite the right version and you'll find-- Teft is basically the same dude but a lot of the other ones have changed and morphed and they basically won't feel right anymore, if that makes any sense. Feel free to read it, don't feel bad reading it but that's the part that I'm not--

    Questioner

    Is that the only part you are worried about? And the rest you are like "It's not my best writing" but--

    Brandon Sanderson

    The rest is not my best writing but whatever. But the Bridge Four stuff, I'm like I did it so much better that it's not even going back and seeing it in rough sketches, it's like if da Vinci had painted a Mona Lisa that was ugly and a different person? You don't want it cemented in their mind that that is what the piece of art is. The rest of it I don't mind so much, I mean the main character his conflict will change dramatically because I pulled that out and gave it to another character in the books. So basically the only thing remaining that is still going to be canon is Hoid and his story, the story what's going with him there is still stuff he would have done...

    Firefight release party ()
    #6428 Copy

    Questioner

    So what give books do you think helped you understand leadership the best?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well Art of War is definitely part of that. I would say that The Prince is important for understanding leadership, even though I don't agree with every point he's making. By the way he is not as-- Even though it is Machiavelli writing it, he is not as machiavellian as we think he is in that book… So The Prince--  Hmmm, a lot of Plato surprisingly, is where I pull some of my ideas. King Benjamin's speech from the Book of Mormon, in Mosiah, if you haven't read that, is definitely part of it. Ummm... What else--

    Questioner

    Like where do you get your-- because you obviously have experience because that's how leadership works.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is interviews, it is personal experience, it is talking to my friends who are in the military and asking them "Does this sound right? Does this feel right? Tell me what it feels like to obey. Tell me what it feels like to be in command." And things like that. Just lots of practice and interviews and things is where most of it is coming from.

    Questioner

    So it’s less like personal experience and more you're really good at researching it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, a writer has to be able to do that because for a book like this the amount of psychology and medicine, battlefield tactics, leadership, and all these other things you need to know, you can't know them all. You can't do them all personally. You've got to be able to experience it, you've got to be able to write it as best as you can, and then go to experts. Like the medicine in this I went to a field surgeon and I said "Will you read over my Kaladin scenes and tell me where I'm going wrong." Like I was able to get myself 80% of the way there with research and then the 20% is me going to an expert and saying "Tell me what I'm doing wrong."

    Firefight release party ()
    #6429 Copy

    Questioner

    So there’s the scene of Kaladin standing alone in /Words of Radiance/. He’s lost his spren, everything is gone, and he's just standing there, and he still fights no matter what. Did that scene come first? Or did the rest of the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was the pivotal scene for the book. That was the thing I felt he needed to learn and the person he needed to be. So I have several focus scenes for each book and that was one of them for this one.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6432 Copy

    Questioner

    The dead shardblades, could you possibly get Stormlight into them to reawaken them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dead shardblade could you pump enough Stormlight into them? That alone would not be enough.

    Questioner

    So you would have to find someone to re-swear with oaths?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is something broken on the Spiritual Realm because of the broken oath and simple Stormlight will not fix that.

    Questioner

    So say--

    Brandon Sanderson

    If the person were still alive and could re-swear the oath then yes.

    Questioner

    [...] the Spiritual Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is not outside the realm of reason but it would be very very very difficult.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6433 Copy

    Herowannabe

    So Elend, at the end of Mistborn [Era 1], is going around finding Allomancers the mist had Snapped. How come he didn't find any other Mistborn? Or did he and we just didn't know about it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What you have to remember is the mists were looking for a way specifically to deliver information to him, that "I am alive and doing something" but they were also kind of crazy. And so the idea was to make him notice the number 16 so that he would know that there was a plan and that something was prepared for him. Does that make sense?

    Herowannabe

    Why didn't the mist throw in some Mistborn in that sixteen too?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Then you would have 17. Or you would have like--  It was the number that was important to what the mists were doing. Plus it is much harder to make someone who wasn't originally-- Like remember what's going on is these are people it is Snapping intentionally who did not-- Like it's Investing them so-- It's either awakening a very little remnant in them or taking people who had-- They wouldn't have been able to be Mistings, if the mists hadn't intervened. Making someone a Mistborn takes way more power.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6434 Copy

    Herowannabe's wife

    In this one [Sixth of the Dusk] is the guy he [Dusk] finds dead, is that Hoid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They guy he finds dead is not Hoid. Good question.

    Herowannabe's wife

    Is it anyone we already know?

    Herowannabe

    Does Hoid make an appearance in that one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid does not make an appearance in that one.

    Herowannabe

    What about Shadows for Silence?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Shadows for Silence he does not make an appearance. I established with those two, my goal was, he-- I found that if I just shoehorned him in it didn't actually fit the narrative. Like I want this to not just be a cameo, he's actively doing things. Does that make sense? He's not just there for cameos... he's actively up to something.

    Now he has been to Threnody. Threnody is very interesting to him for certain reasons. He hasn't been to First of the Sun, he's never visited Sixth of the Dusk's planet, yet.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6435 Copy

    Herowannabe

    I noticed that shardblades are unnaturally light but Nightblood is unnaturally heavy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is correct.

    Herowannabe

    Care to expound on that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nightblood is built around the same principles as shardblades, if shardblades were... broken?  I mean he is-- You'll notice dark smoke that goes down rather than light smoke that goes up, and things like this. So, yeah, they are built on the same principles but in some ways opposites.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6436 Copy

    Herowannabe

    I've got a Vasher question too. In Warbreaker he's not really much of a swordfighter but in his later appearance--

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Warbreaker he is better than you think he is, but he is tired of fighting. He's just completely-- You know at this point he's several hundred years old, and he created a sword, he's a swordsman. He knows his way around a sword but he is worn out emotionally and just doesn't want to be fighting and things like that. And plus he's had Nightblood, he doesn't need to, right? Nightblood, you swing Nightblood and it doesn't matter how good you are with a sword, really. You know which direction to point him and disaster happens. And so he's much better than you think he is.

    Herowannabe's wife

    But now he doesn't have it anymore.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But now he doesn't have it anymore, and now he kind of has to survive-- He has to make a living somehow and this is something he was good at.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6438 Copy

    Questioner

    So when are you going to tell us who Gaidal Cain is reincarnated as?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *laughs* One of the prevailing theories online is true.

    Questioner

    One of 18?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Most of the-- It's not Olver for instance. People thought that for years but Robert Jordan said it wasn't. I think there are two or three leading theories and it is one of those.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6439 Copy

    Questioner

    I was just wondering if you were going to continue the mirroring as the Elantris and Warbreaker series continue...

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are probably not going to continue that way. There will be some things, like there will be some tonal things. Part of the reason I wrote Warbreaker was this idea that I'm like "I wrote this whole book about the city of the gods but I didn't actually get to deal with people living as gods". So I came back to the topic because of that reason but the second one is probably going to be a little bit more like my unpublished book Aether of Night. I'm going to fold in some of those ideas.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6441 Copy

    Questioner

    I've been trying to brainstorm what Stormlight characters would have jumped into the other books so far. You told me they had at one point.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, they have but you've got to remember that The Stormlight Archive you are seeing right now, what's happening in it is like late cosmere era, does that make sense? So there are lots of people from the world that have been to other worlds but the people you know--this is happening just before Alloy of Law era-- So does that make sense? That's the first time you'd be able to see anyone here and by that era the bleed over is a lot less because we have the whole Odium trapped and things like that. There's a lot less-- There are a lot fewer people traveling in and out of Roshar than there once were.

    Firefight release party ()
    #6442 Copy

    Questioner

    I know you went on mission in Korea, as did I, did anything come from that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, quite a number of things have been influenced by it. I'd say the biggest influence is Elantris, the writing system is based on the idea of Korean and Chinese mixed together. But Asian philosophy, like the kami and things like that are also common in Korea, that belief that everything has a soul. So yeah it's had a huge influence on me, just the way I worldbuild-- I mean just the fact, I don't know if you've read The Way of Kings… I don't know if you know but everyone's Asian, right? Like Szeth, the white dude, is the one that looks weird them. And that's just because-- It was partially influenced by that.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #6443 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This chapter in particular was a challenge to write. My experience with Sazed in The Hero of Ages warned me that a character deep in depression can be a difficult and dangerous thing to write. Depression is a serious challenge for real people—and therefore also for characters. Additionally, it pushes a character not to act.

    Inactive characters are boring, and though I wanted to start Kaladin in a difficult place, I didn't want him to be inactive. So how did I go about making scenes of a depressed fallen hero locked in a cage interesting and active? The final result might not seem like much in the scope of the entire novel, but these chapters are some of the ones I'm the most proud of. I feel I get Kaladin and his character across solidly while having him actually do things—try to save the other slave, rip up the map, etc.

    Syl, obviously, is a big part of why these scenes work. She is so different from the rest of what's happening, and she has such stark progress as a character, that I think she "saves" these chapters.

    You might be interested to know, then, that she was actually developed for a completely different book in the cosmere. I often speak about how books come together when different ideas work better together than they ever did separate. Kaladin and Syl are an excellent example of this. He didn't work in The Way of Kings Prime, and her book just wasn't going anywhere. Put them together, and magic happened. (Literally and figuratively.)

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #6444 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Kharbranth

    The City of Bells is a true city-state. They have no real authority beyond the city itself, and they trade for everything they need. There aren't Kharbranthian farmers, for example. If commerce were to fail, the city would flat-out collapse.

    They do have their own language, as hinted at in this chapter, but it's very similar to Alethi and Veden. I consider the three languages to really be dialects of Alethi, and learning one is more about learning new pronunciations as it is about learning new words. (Though there are some differences in vocabulary.) I would put them even slightly closer than Spanish and Portuguese in our world.

    The city origins are a little less proud than they'd tell you. Kharbranth was a pirate town, a harbor for the less savory during the early days of navigation on Roshar. As the decades passed, however, it grew into a true city. To this day, however, its leaders acknowledge that they're not a world power—and might never be. They use games of politics, trade, and information to play Jah Keved, Alethkar, and Thaylenah against one another.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #6445 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Three

    Shallan

    I chose to use Shallan as my other main character in Part One, rather than Dalinar, because I felt her sequence better offset Kaladin's. He was going to some very dark places, and her sequence is a little lighter.

    She is the only "new" main character in this book. Kaladin (under a different name) was in Way of Kings Prime, and Dalinar was there virtually unchanged from how he is now. The character in Shallan's place, however, never panned out. That left me with work to do in order to replace Jasnah's ward.

    Shallan grew out of my desire to have an artist character to do the sketches in the book. Those were things I'd wanted to do forever, but hadn't had the means to accomplish when writing the first version of the book. I now had the contacts and resources to do these drawings, like from the sketchbook of a natural historian such as Darwin.

    One of the things that interests me about scientists in earlier eras is how broad their knowledge base was. You really could just be a "scientist" and that would mean that you had studied everything. Now, we need to specialize more, and our foundations seem to be less and less generalized. A physicist may not pay attention to sociology at all.

    Classical scholars were different. You were expected to know languages, natural science, physical science, and theology all as if they were really one study. Shallan is my stab at writing someone like this.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #6446 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Two

    Here we finally get to the book's main character, though I suspect that most readers won't catch that he is the one until we've come back to him at time or two.

    Discounting Shallan, who was not in Way of Kings Prime, Kaladin is the one who went through the biggest evolution over the years. Dalinar has been Dalinar from day one. Adolin, Jasnah, Renarin, and Taln all solidified into themselves while I was writing Prime. Even Sadeas (under a different name) is basically the same person now as he was ten years ago.

    Kaladin, though… Well, I had some growing to do as a writer before I could write him. He started in my concepts as a very generic fantasy "farmboy" protagonist. In Prime, there was nothing really original or interesting about him other than his situation. This is the danger for that style of protagonist; I feel that the best characters are interesting aside from their role.

    For all my love of the Harry Potter books (and I do think they're quite excellent), Harry is a blank slate at the start. He's not interesting—the situations he's in are interesting. It isn't until later books, where he gets things to care about (like his godfather) that he starts to be defined as a character.

    Kaladin was the same way. It's odd how writers are sometimes better at giving personalities to their side characters than they are at giving them to their main characters.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #6447 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter One

    This was a controversial chapter for my writing group and my editor, and was wrapped up in the whole learning curve argument. It was suggested several times that if this chapter were from Kaladin's viewpoint, the book wouldn't feel quite so overwhelming at the start. After all, Chapters One and Two would then be from the same viewpoint and would give a stronger clue to readers.

    I resisted. I had already accepted that this was going to be a challenging book for readers. That's not an excuse to ignore advice, but at the same time, I decided I was committed to the long-term with this book. That meant doing things at the start that might seem unusual for the purpose of later payoff.

    This is an excellent example of that. If I'd done this scene through Kaladin's eyes, I don't think it would have been as powerful. Kaladin is on top of things here, in control. I didn't want the first chapter to feel that in control. I wanted the sense of chaos worry and uncertainty.

    Beyond that, I wanted to introduce Kaladin as a contrast to all of that. A solid force for order, a natural leader, and an all-around awesome guy. Doing that from within someone's viewpoint is tough unless they're on the arrogant side, like Kelsier. It can work in that kind of viewpoint, but not in Kaladin's.

    Finally, I am always looking to play with the tropes of fantasy where I can. I feel that if I'd been writing this as a youth, I'd have made someone like Cenn the hero. (Indeed, in the original draft of The Way of Kings from 2002, Kaladin was much more like Cenn is now.) Opening with a young man thrust into war, then having him get killed seemed like a good way to sweep the pieces off the table and say, "No, what you expect to happen isn't going to happen in this book."

    This also let me set up for a future chapter, where I could flashback to Kaladin's view of these events. As narrative structure was something I wanted to play with in this book, that appealed to me.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #6448 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secrets

    Obviously, there are a lot of things embedded in this scene for later books. I've noted frequently that with Mistborn, I got the luxury of writing the whole series before releasing it. I don't have that chance with Stormlight. I had to make sure all of my foreshadowing was placed and ready for later use.

    I worry that so much of it is obvious, yet also confusingly so. The sphere that Gavilar give Szeth is barely mentioned in the book, for example.

    No, I'm not going to tell you what it is.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #6449 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lashings

    I'll be referencing the original draft of The Way of Kings (AKA Way of Kings Prime), written in 2002, as I feel it will probably be fun for readers to see how the book evolved over time. Every other book of mine you've read was conceived and executed over a relatively short period. The Way of Kings is different—it had a lot of evolving to do before hitting the state it's in now.

    One of those evolutions was the magic. Mistborn had one of my best magic systems to date. In Way of Kings Prime (written before Mistborn) we only had two types of magic: Shardblades and Soulcasting. Shardblades were great, but not really magic. Soulcasting didn't work so well. [Assistant Peter's note: There was also something called Windrunning, but it was completely different from the version we know now.]

    Mistborn really upped the ante in terms of magic in my books, and I wanted The Way of Kings to have a more dynamic, interesting magic system. That is one factor in why I waited so long to release it.

    I finally worked out Lashings while on tour for The Well of Ascension. (That was the tour I went on following the call from Harriet, asking if I was interested in finishing The Wheel of Time.) What I liked about the Lashings system was the visual power and the means of manipulating gravity and pressure in interesting visual and creative ways. I had already built into the sensibilities of the world the idea that there were ten fundamental forces I had based on the idea of fundamental forces in our world's physics. It all fit together nicely.

    Anyway, Szeth (named Jek in the first version of the book) was a more ordinary assassin in the original. He didn't have powers beyond being a really, really good killer.

    The Way of Kings Annotations ()
    #6450 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Prologue

    Szeth uses magic

    In Mistborn, by intention, I saved any big action sequences with the magic until the characters and setting had been established. This was intentional.

    I did the opposite in The Way of Kings.

    There are a couple of reasons for this. I spoke on the learning curve of this book; I felt it was best to just be straightforward with what I was doing. This book would be steep, and you'd see it in the first few scenes. Better to be straightforward with what you are.

    At the same time, I felt that readers would put up with more from me. Fantasy readers can handle a steep learning curve, and tend to celebrate books that have a lot of meaty worldbuilding. I feel from my own experience as a reader, however, that I am wary of giving much effort to a book by a new author. Learning a new world takes work, and if an author is going to demand that kind of work from me, I want big payoff.

    My hope is that I've earned my right to put out a book with this involved a setting. I've proven that I can tell a good story, and that it's worth the effort to get into one of my books and worlds. The Way of Kings is the most challenging book I've written; the payoff will be equal to that challenge. (I hope.)