Recent entries

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6752 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you ever read a book that has made you cried? Or made you so frustrated that you wanted to throw the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not that hard to make me emotional in a book. I'm normally a very even-keeled guy, but a really great story told really well can really get to me. It's part of why I wanted to be a writer. I've got a very even temperament. I wake up most days, just kinda feeling the same I did the day before. So, if there's, like, bipolar or things like this, I'm like the opposite. I'm, like, if you vary, like, people vary from a 0 and a 100, I'm, like, at a 75 all the time. Which can be really cool, except when everyone else is, like, super excited, and they all go to, like, 90 and 100, and I'm like, "Yay? That's cool. I'm happy too!" But a good story, that gets me, right? That can really get me. So, a lot of my favorite stories-- Anne McCaffrey was really good at doing this for me. But Terry Pratchett, right? They're comedies? If I mention that I like something, it's probably stirred powerful emotions in me.

    What have I wanted to throw across the room? I'm sorry, I know that some of you really like this, but-- and I'm sure they're really good books if you're in the right mindset, but-- this is gonna date me a little. There was a sequel series to the Willow movie, which was written. And Chris Claremont is a great writer, right? I think this is the X-Men Chris Claremont. I don't blame Chris. [George] Lucas was involved. Strike that from the record. But I loved Willow. When I was a kid, I'm like, "A fantasy movie that doesn't suck! Yes! Nothing against you Beastmaster, but, you know, a fantasy movie that doesn't suck, and Warwick Davis was awesome, I love that movie!" And then the books came out, and in the first one, you're like, "Yeah, all those people you loved? They're dead." That's how, like, the prologue goes! And the character whose life they saved in the movie, and things like that--spoilers, it's been like thirty years--is, like, a spoiled brat, and everyone's personality changed. That's probably the book I'm the most, like, throw-against-the-wall-ish. I'm like, "No, don't kill all my favorite characters!" Here's a clue for ya: if people love a whole bunch of stuff, don't start the sequel with, "Yeah, all that stuff you loved? We're just gonna..." Don't Aliens 3 your movie. Don't do that to your books. It's okay to have loss, but don't have all the people you love die in between stories. Bad idea.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6753 Copy

    Questioner

    By and large, I love your characters. I really dislike Eshonai. Really dislike her. Is there a character that you really dislike writing? Or, if you don't dislike them, is it hard to find their voice.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Cadsuane. Sorry, Wheel of Time fans, but Cadsuane, you're not my real mom. Moiraine is my real mom. I tried to do my best with Cadsuane that I could. So, I would say-- of my own characters, they're all like my children, and I love my children all equally. *gives Joel a side hug* The same thing with my characters. When I'm writing someone, they're my favorite. I wouldn't say so, but on The Wheel of Time, definitely. Cadsuane, she can go eat a brick.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6754 Copy

    Questioner

    A lot of people probably ask you how to write better. Do you have any advice for people who want to read better?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What an interesting question. So I don't know if you can read the wrong way? Upside down, if it works for you, man. One of my speeches previous year, the little things I get up, where I go professor on you. One of those things was where I talked about "there is no wrong way to read my books." And you have the power as a reader, I feel, to have, like, line-item veto. If I describe a certain person a certain way, and you're like, "Nope." You are allowed to change that in your version of the book. I have a good friend, he's still in my writing group, actually, he's Leyten from Bridge Four. 'Cause all my friends ended up in Bridge Four. Except for Dan, who I killed horribly in the Mistborn books. He survived the first time. I let him survive, and then he died. All of my friends ended up in Bridge Four. So Leyten, he was reading The Wheel of Time back when he was a teenager, and we got to the part where Thom Merrilin has a mustache. Have you read these books? He's a guy that has this really awesome mustache. And Alan's said, "Nope. No mustache. He doesn't match my--" When he told me this, I was horrified! I'm like, "That is, like, a central feature of what Thom Merrilin looks like, he has a big, drooping mustache!" Alan's like, "Nope. Not in my version." And I'm okay with that, when you do that on my book. You can pronounce the names the way you want. You can-- like, I give you a script, and you direct it. And you can change whatever you want in your head.So, I don't know if there's a right or a wrong way to read, if that makes sense.

    I did take a speed-reading class for, like, three days. No, it was just, like, one day, where they started teaching how to speed-read. And I realized, when I was speed-reading, I was missing kind of the music of the writing for me. Like, one of the tactics of speed-reading is to stop hearing it in your head, the sounds while you're reading. Which is great for getting through something fast, but I was like, "No! This doesn't work. It makes the books-- less musical?" if that makes any sense. And so I immediately dropped out of that class. But that was for me, I need to savor the story a little bit more. If you want to speed-read it, and that works for you, go. It's an interesting question that I just basically refused to answer, I'm sorry.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6755 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you plan to write any more books in the Steelheart universe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...There's a big story here. So, the book that I started writing right after finishing Oathbringer in June was called The Apocalypse Guard. This is in the same universe as the Reckoners. And I wrote the whole book, and there were some things wrong with it, as happens sometimes with books. And so I thought, "Eh, I'll send it to my editor, and see what my editor at Random House thinks." She read it, she got back, she's like, "I like some things about it, but it's got these problems." I'm like, "Oh, those are the same problems I thought it had; that's not a good sign." So I got on and I brainstormed, and said "What do you think we should do?" She's like, "Well, maybe this or this." I spent, like, two weeks working on a really in-depth revision document. And I revised about 20% of the book following this document and it was worse. It didn't fix the problem. And so I'm like, "I need more time on this book. This book is not working. I'm sure I can fix it eventually." Like I told you, I stopped writing The Stormlight Archive in 2002. So, I pulled that book and set it aside. And I actually, I sent it to Dan Wells, actually, 'cause he's one of the best writers I know. And I'm like, "Dan! Something's broken. Can you tell me what's broken?" I'm waiting to see what Dan has to say on that, but for now, that's where Secret Project [Skyward] came from, 'cause I'm like, "Well, I don't feel good releasing Apocalypse Guard next year, I have to fix it first, it's just not good enough." So, I pulled out an outline for something else... and I said, "Well, I'm gonna write this right now, 'cause I feel like I can write this, and it's gonna work." So, I started writing this.

    The answer is, yes, there will be more books, and there will even be, if I get around to it, a book about Mizzy as a protagonist, if I can find-- Like, I have to get The Apocalypse Guard working first.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6756 Copy

    Questioner

    Where did you get the idea for a chasmfiend?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This actually a pretty good one. So, what has happening with the Stormlight books is-- Originally, the Shattered Plains were not in Stormlight. If you didn't know about this, Stormlight started without the Shattered Plains. And when I came back to the series to write it after kind of failing at that 2002 version and wanting to try again, I hired a concept artist to do sketches of characters and settings for me. His name was Ben McSweeney... Ben is the person I eventually hired to do a lot of the artwork, because he had done all this great concept art. And one of the things he did is, he drew a giant brain coral, 'cause I said, "Give me corals, things that you would normally find underwater in a coral reef, but above ground, and this is where we're gonna start our big brainstorming," and he did this giant one that people were walking through the cracks, and there was a little crustacean monster in there. And I'm like, "Oh, that looks like the Shattered Plains. Hey, the Shattered Plains! Why didn't I think of that? They work really well!" 'Cause they had originally been in Dragonsteel, they hadn't really worked there. So, I brought the Shattered Plains over, and the original inspiration for a chasmfiend was that little beastie. It looked more like a crayfish, that he had stuck in one of these grooves. That's where chasmfiends came from.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6758 Copy

    TheFulgid

    Where do gemstones come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Gemstones on Roshar are mostly coming from gemhearts. And, I remembered to stick in some mentions of this in Oathbringer, 'cause a lot of people have been asking about this. It's not something-- like, the daily ranching of animals for their gemhearts is not something that we bring up a lot, but there is some limited mining operations on Roshar as well, you've just gotta get through the crem.

    Oathbringer release party ()
    #6764 Copy

    Mason Wheeler (paraphrased)

    It seems like the Diagram Cult derives their entire moral authority for the atrocities they commit from the notion that "this is a very, very smart plan."

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Basically, yeah.

    Mason Wheeler (paraphrased)

    And they're filling in the gaps with information gleaned from Death Rattles, despite knowing full well that they're coming from one of Odium's Unmade spren. This seams very, very dumb. Have they ever considered the possibility that they could be being fed disinformation?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, but they figure that the benefits of having access to someone who can see the future outweigh that risk. And even if they are being deliberately given bad information, knowing what subjects they're being misinformed about tells them something useful.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #6768 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible* find yourself foreshadowing in any of your books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    All the time. Like, the thing I love to do the most.

    Questioner

    Anything you found that we haven't found yet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah. But they can't really find it yet because the foreshadowing is for books way in the future. One thing I've mentioned that you can keep an eye on is the shapes the spren sometimes take, sometimes unconsciously, is related to certain connections that are going on.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #6769 Copy

    classicalkhlennium

    Could a Shard like Harmony create new elemental metals, like harmonium, or is that unconscious--

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, unconscious isn't the right word, but a manifestation of his will being the same as manifestation of the laws of physics in the world, if that makes sense. It's not like a choice, it's not, like, not a choice either, to create others, it is theoretically possible, but what has happened is more in line with the laws of his realm.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #6770 Copy

    Questioner

    So we know that spren come about through interactions? Could there be other things that situation could create?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    'Cause a read about the *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, same thing, yes.

    Questioner

    I was wondering if *inaudible* spren were created by *inaudible*?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is possible.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #6776 Copy

    Questioner

    So, I was actually wondering whether Tanavast constructed the confrontation with Rayse in such a way that *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    That nailed his foot to the floor?

    Questioner

    He's stuck on Braize - at least for now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, yes. That was, in effect, that was an intentional -

    Questioner

    It was deliberate? Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was deliberate. Yup.

    Questioner

    *Inaudible, possibly 'Rayse'* started to win?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, well...

    Questioner

    I'll keep it secret until it shows up on Facebook.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it... so, Odium came at him, and he gave - not as good as he got - but he made it cost.

    Questioner

    Did he sacrifice himself, or is Odium better at that sort of thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wouldn't say that he sacrificed himself, I'd say he went out swinging.

    Questioner

    Is Odium just better at that sort of thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say, yes.

    Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
    #6778 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you give us some of the magic systems that you've rejected?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Magic systems I've rejected. Rejects for me are kind of a weird thing in that they stick in the back of my brain, and when I reject something, it's more along the lines of "this isn't ready yet." And I'm constantly thinking, do I want to do this, do I not want to do this. I've wanted to do one with sound waves forever, visualizing sound waves and things, and I have not been able to write it in a way that either felt different enough from other magic systems that approached this, or that just worked on the page. It's very hard to take something auditory and make it-- put it into a book for some reason. Some things work, I mean, Pat [Rothfuss] has made an entire career of having music to his language... so it can work, but I've never been able to get a really solidly sound-wave-focused magic to work, but I think of and discard tons of these things everyday. Sometimes, I discard them, because I'm like, "No, that's too Brandon." It's like, it's too much, a challenge. "Can I make peanuts into a magic system?" That's one I haven't done.

    By the way, I wanted to do a story about a leekromancer, who had power over legumes. Yeah? Uh-huh. See. That's just too Brandon. You can read that, and say, "He wrote this entire story just to make the leekromancer pun!"

    Footnote: Brandon has mentioned a leekromancer character in relation to the potential story Mullholland Homebrew's Sinister Shop for Secret Pets.
    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #6783 Copy

    Questioner

    How do states of matter affect how things look in the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, generally, how people perceive something is very important to the reflection in the Cognitive Realm, and so the physical state of matter is going to be involved in that, but generally, it flows the other direction from the Spiritual Realm.

    Questioner

    Do the forms of Investiture that we've seen, Stormlight, metals, Shardpools, do the fact that those happen in general the same types of states of matter, all physical, solid, is kinda going to be like metal for Investiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that is generally the way it will be.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #6786 Copy

    Questioner

    How did you design the mistcloak cloaks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Because it looks cool, obviously!

    Questioner

    It is highly impractical!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not if you're Mistborn! The only trouble we really had is stepping on the tassels. 

    Questioner

    And getting tangled up in them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, a lot of the tassels, a lot of the ones for mistcloaks we've made, use thicker material in them, and they lie straighter, and they don't tangle nearly as much. As long as you don't make them too long, 'cause if you do, you step on them, particularly on stairs... We've got some costume persons that work-- you'll find, if you use a thicker, stronger material-- yeah.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #6788 Copy

    Questioner

    I want to ask you a question about Pattern. Could you speak to anything about where your idea for...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wanted different spren to look drastically different. And, as I was building-- Like, I wanted a lot of the spren of a lot of the Orders of Knights Radiant to kind of have an internal, natural conflict. Like, that's one of the division lines between a spren that's not sapient, and spren that is. For instance, Windrunner, honorspren, right? Honor is about rigidity in a lot of ways, and Syl is the embodiment of a lot of the opposite of that. And Pattern, who is so interested in lies, is a mathematical fractal-- a mathematical equation. This sort of thing, like naming the inkspren Ivory is just-- I want that internal, natural contrast to be part of them. And Pattern, I really wanted a spren that wasn't just another ball of light. 'Cause Syl is basically a ball of light. And a lot of the others are basically balls of light. And I'm like, I need something that's different, I want something that looks different, that feels different. That's where I went.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #6789 Copy

    Questioner

    I just have been noticing this, and it's not exclusive to any author, it's just this kind of theme that simply tires me. Main characters, they die, and then they come back to life. or they just don't die. And it makes it so much less exciting for me. So, I wanted to ask you what you think about that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, here's the thing. Because fiction isn't real, death is meaningless in fiction. The only real things in fiction are the emotions we make you feel, and different stories try to do that in different ways with different themes. For instance, I don't think Lord of the Rings is ruined by the fact that Gandalf has a resurrection, because of the emotions you feel, and then the other emotions you feel, and things like this-- and there's something universal about it. And so, I don't think I'm as big on it as that, because deaths-- maybe it's because I'm a writer, everything feels arbitrary in books, except the emotion that I put upon it, if that makes sense? And I always find that what the characters are going through is the more interesting than an abrupt end, but I guess that's just kinda me.

    If you say that, then books can't have resurrection as a theme, or rebirth, which is, like, one of the most interesting themes in existence. But everyone has different tastes, there's no wrong. Not liking it is not wrong. I mean, plot armor also has this thing where we tend to not kill characters arbitrarily, we tend to do it at dramatic moments, and things like this, because the story is better that way, right? And there are some people, like George Martin, who just try to throw this out the window, to tell a different story by doing that. But, of course, resurrection is a huge theme in those books.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #6790 Copy

    Questioner

    Why pancakes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My kids love pancakes, I thought Lift would really like pancakes. And pancakes are pretty universal, like, most cultures come up with a pancake-type thing. Now they aren't always the sweet pancakes, fluffy ones that we imagine. But, like, almost every culture, pancakes are a thing. Some weird batter with stuff in it you pour onto a hot skillet.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #6794 Copy

    Questioner

    Hoid seems to know things that are not explained. He'll show up places, when the Herald showed up, or when Jasnah comes back. Is that something that's just not been explained yet? Or is that something that's a part of some magic system that we've heard about? Or is that something different?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, so, he has access to things that other people do not. It is explainable, but it has not been explained yet. He can be places he needs to be, but if you watch, he doesn't always know why he needs to be there. He's really good at covering that part up. But he does-- he knows he needs to be somewhere, and so he gets there.

    Oathbringer Portland signing ()
    #6797 Copy

    Questioner

    Glyphpairs, or glyphs, for the specific Surges. Are they supposed to be slightly different? Or are they perfectly symmetrical?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on who paints them and how. Most of them are supposed to be symmetrical.

    Questioner

    Because I got the Progression tattoo, and my tattoo artist noticed that it was slightly different on both sides, where there was a curve instead of having a square. And he said, is it not supposed to be perfectly squared off? Because then it would be--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some people draw them that way, depends on what they're writing, and things like that. So, I would ask Isaac. Write an email to [email protected] and ask him about it, because he designs all those. I just give him general directions, he's the one that can actually write them.