Recent entries

    Alloy of Law Milton Keynes signing ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Do you miss characters when you “write them out”?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Nice euphemism. I miss writing for them but it doesn’t shock me because I generally planned it that way, so I have time to prepare. I don’t see myself as killing them. Instead, I allow them to take risks and pay the price for those risks. Mostly, I know well in advance what will happen to a character. Just occasionally, though, the plot will suddenly take me to the point when something has to happen, then I have to go back and re-write the outline. I don’t sit there and think, “Now who won’t they expect me to kill," although I suspect some other authors might do that. *laughter*

    Alloy of Law Milton Keynes signing ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    A lot of your work deals with stereotypes. Can you tell us more about that?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It’s true, but I always make sure that it isn’t just about the stereotype. It’s a fun thing to challenge some of the classic fantasy models, but that shouldn’t take over the writing as that can really undermine a writer. Piers Anthony was an example where the puns were fun but eventually came to undermine the series. I like having non-stereotypical professions and I enjoyed challenging age perceptions in Way of Kings. Having a romance between a man in his 50s and a woman in her late 40s is unusual in fantasy, where it’s all about the young man falling in love.

    Alloy of Law Milton Keynes signing ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    How does compounding work in Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I can explain this better in person because I know things that the characters in the book don’t. So, they haven’t worked a lot of this out. All the magic systems in my work are linked because the books all take place in the same universe. In Elantris, magic works by drawing symbols in the air. What actually happens is that when they draw a symbol, energy passes through it from another place (which is my get-out for the laws of thermodynamics) and the effect of that energy is moderated by the symbol. In one case it may become light, in another it may become fire. In Mistborn, the metals have a similar effect. The magic is not coming from the metal (even if some characters think it is). It is being drawn from the same place and moderated by the metal.

    In the case of Feruchemy, no energy is being drawn from this other place. So, you spend a week sick and store up the ability to heal. It’s a balanced system, basically obeying the laws of thermodynamics. So, while it’s not real, it’s still rational.

    In compounding, when you have the power of both Allomancy and Feruchemy, you draw power from the other place through the metal and it recognizes the power that is already stored—"Oh, this is healing, I know how to do that”—and so you get the power of Feruchemy but boosted by energy from the other place. This is how the Lord Ruler achieved immortality.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

    If a Feruchemist using an aluminum metalmind stored their Identity to zero, then filled a coppermind with all of their knowledge, would another Feruchemist with an identity set to zero be able to access the first Feruchemist's coppermind?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I'm not going to tell you a definite yes or no, this is something that needs to be saved for future books, but you are thinking along the correct lines about how Identity works regarding Feruchemists.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

    Suppose you had a Feruchemist that was also skilled in Forgery. If they Soulstamped themselves, would they normally be able to still use Feruchemy, and if they were able to use Feruchemy after a Soulstamp would they be able to access their own metalminds?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    You could do so, but it would require jerry-rigging in order to make it work, since the Soulstamp overwrites the current Spiritual aspect of a person. He then said that the accessing the metalminds would also require some amount of jerry-rigging. 

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    What's it looking like for the book series of The Rithmatist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am writing the second one right now, it is my current project. It is going to be a trilogy. The second one should be out next summer. And they are going to go to South America. It's going to be fun.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    Concerning everything on Roshar, is it safe to say The Stormlight Archive will become the backbone series of the story of the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are three backbone series: Dragonsteel, Mistborn, and The Stormlight Archive. And Mistborn is past, present, future, Stormlight is the center, and Dragonsteel is the beginning. So really it goes: Dragonsteel, Mistborn, Stormlight, Mistborn, Stormlight, Mistborn is basically how this backbone sequence goes.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    Where did you get the idea of the Elantris magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The drawing glyphs is based on Korean and Chinese writing systems. I'm Mormon, I served a mission in Korea for two years, loved the writing system and the language. It was part of what inspired me to do that. There is this really cool thing where in Korea they used Chinese characters to write for a long time and they are very difficult to learn because you just have to memorize them and there was a great king, named Sejong, who said, "My people are being mostly illiterate because this is so hard and we don't even speak Chinese, we are not Chinese. We use their characters, can we develop a language, a writing system that will allow us to do this" and his scholars got together and devised Korean which is a way to phonetically write Chinese characters kind of? It's their own thing. You write them in little groups to make little Chinese characters, it's the coolest thing ever. But you can write most Korean things, not everything, most you can write as a Chinese character or as a phonetic Korean construction of three letters that create that Chinese character sound and I liked that idea and it spun me into the idea of the Aons and the Aonic language and things like that.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    With Lift part of the inspiration was-- Boy, what was the inspiration for Lift? When I was building The Stormlight Archive I said, "I want the Knights Radiant to run the gamut of different character styles, ages, and types of story." And when you say "knight"--when I say knight you imagine one thing. What you don't imagine is a thirteen-year-old Hispanic girl, right? And I said "I want to have the people that are in the Knights Radiant to not be the standard what you think of." They are the entire world's cultures having different people. And so I said "Well, what is somebody who does not fit that mold?" That you would say is not a knight. Lift was partially developed out of me wanting to build a character who was awesome but was so different from what everyone would think of. 'Cause you say knight and they think of white dude in armor, and I wanted something very different from that. And that's where she came from. It also came partially from my wife reading a lot of fantasy and complaining that she's like, "you know the Asians show up in fantasy a lot, Asian culture inspires a lot. European culture of course does. You see a lot of these things but where are the Hispanics?"

    *audience laughs*

    ...Yeah there's one. So she challenged me to put a Hispanic culture in my books because I had never done it before, and so Lift is an outgrowth of that, so are the Herdazians. They are meant to be sort of in the same way that the Alethi are inspired by Korean culture, mashed up with this sort of concept of medieval knights. The same way Shallan is based a little off of Western American/Europe culture. The Herdazians are launching off some of the original Hispanic concepts. So the thing is, you want every culture to be new and original but you are working from somewhere. And the problem is we all work from the same stories for so long that is part of the reason why fantasy is starting to feel so stale.

    Writing for Charity Conference ()
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    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    A question that has it's roots in Dragonsteel. When Ruin changes words, is he actually changing words,or is he changing what people see?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Did we canonize this question Peter? I'm pretty sure we did. I thought we answered this one already.

    Let's just say that most of the time, Ruin was searching for a place to transition, where he could change what was being trans-transcribed. Or what was being heard, or what was being said.

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    That's pretty interesting. 

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    So the easiest time for him is when a scribe is writing in a new book, he's copying a new book down, and he just pops in and changes the words.

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Okay. That makes sense. 

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    Lift stands outside Kredik Shaw, her goal is to eat the Lord Ruler's lunch, can she get away with it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think she totally can. She's Lift, she'll just get him while he's sleeping.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Isaac Stewart

    The glyphs don't really relate to pronunciation. You learn them by seeing the glyph and knowing what the word is for that. But the people, the people who create the glyphs have a different process from ones who read them.

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Isaac Stewart

    It can be pretty challenging to draw the glyphs. We usually go through several different iterations of different looks of things before we come up with something that we like.

    Writing for Charity Conference ()
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    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Is there some reason why both Vin and Kelsier are half-skaa, half-noble, both natural Allomancers, both end up overthrowing the Lord Ruler, and have siblings that are seekers.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Both were heavily influenced by Ruin in doing what they were doing. So there is a connection there, maybe not the one you're looking for, but Ruin was looking for talented Mistborn that were easy to manipulate and talented Mistborn tend to come from talented Mistborn lines, and so Ruin is looking for that, and they both end up fitting that role. And the thing is, is that the half breeds ended up being easier for him to manipulate and easier lost in the shuffle of things, so they weren't paid attention to as much by the Ministry, because the Ministry didn't know about them.

    So it's mostly coincidental for what Ruin's trying to achieve

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    Did Ben or Isaac design the glyphs in The Stormlight Archive?

    Isaac Stewart

    I did. So here's an interesting thing the-- no I'm not going to tell you that. *lots of laughter* I think it would be a spoiler for Book 3. Bridge Four in Alethi, you guys ready? Vev Gesheh. Vev is the number four, Gesheh is bridge... When I design the glyphs, I always make sure I know how to say it in Alethi before I design the glyph.

    Ben McSweeney

    Is there a reason for that?

    Isaac Stewart

    There is a reason for that.

    Ben McSweeney

    Are you going to tell us what that reason is?

    Isaac Stewart

    Nope. The glyph writing system is just a-- You are supposed to be able to look at it and say "Hey that's--that means bridge" but it could be elongated, it could be changed, it could be--but the same shapes are in there and that means "bridge" or whatever else that is.

    Writing for Charity Conference ()
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    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Why did OreSeur signup for Kelsier’s plan. Was he forced to because of his contract? Or did he actually want to do it?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    All kandra want to be back in the Homeland. That said, OreSeur, he as a kandra, likes challenges, and was a real method kandra, a lot of them are, but he truly was. And you can see that in him. So for him, the contract and the role he plays... 

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Are more important than what he actually wants.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yeah. Even though he had spent all this time doing this stuff. So he was part of it, but for him, his role was being this person. If I may.

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    That's interesting. 

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid waxes poetic on the idea that the more people expect, the more difficult it becomes for the artist. This is more the critic in me having noticed that my own expectations for a piece play dramatically into how much I enjoy it. Some of my best experiences at the cinema have been films where I had no idea what to expect. The Sixth Sense was like this for me. I had never heard of the film, my friends dragged me to it, they said it's a horror and I said "I'm not sure if I want to watch a slasher pic, but I think it's going to be terrible but whatever." And I watched it and it was a great movie and I came out of it saying, "Wow, I did not expect that." And yet something like The Dark Knight Returns, which is a fantastic film, well done. Yet the second film was so good that I went into the third film and it wasn't quite as good as the second film and I came out and said, "Eh." Where it is a great film and yet my expectations-- It's unfair to the artist but it is the way I think a lot of us work. That our expectations do play a lot into how our experience is for the story. A lot of things when I go into things like that, I'm not trying to let the author speak so much as I'm trying to say what would someone who analyzes art like a critic in my analyzes art what would be an observation they would make. Hoid is not me and he does not voice necessarily my personal opinions, but he is an artist and a critic and so he notices some of the things I notice.  

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    Are we going to see any chapters that are expressly Hoid now that he is becoming more and more important?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You have seen two. Are you going to see more? Yes. I would say that if you look at the structure of the first two Stormlight books, you will find several themes and those themes are likely to be repeated in future books. And Hoid does like having the last word. *laughter*

    Writing for Charity Conference ()
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    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    A question related to that. There's an idea going around that all the spren that can Nahel Bond, all Knight Radiant spren are called honorspren, and then Nohadon talks specifically about honorspren. Is that the case? You know, is it just the Windrunner spren, or is it all the spren?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I'm going to deal with this in the next book. So I'll just go ahead and let it be a literal RAFO. It is coming.

    *interruption, leading Brandon to lose his train of though*

    So what we are dealing with here is that all spren are indeed all pieces of the one who has gone, so those spren are all- except the Windrunner spren, the spren like Syl, have certain umm.

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Nohadon mentioned that "All the spren aren't as discerning as honorspren."

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    So there has been dissension among them about who gets to call themselves honorspren, if that makes sense, and there is some disagreement among scholars about which ones are really, you know "This is what defines an honorspren".

    But the spren you are running into are all *inaudible* of either Honor or Cultivation, or some mixture between them. And you can usually tell the ones that are more Honor, and the ones that are more Cultivation. That should be able to be *inaudible*.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    When will we see a Hoid book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will see a Hoid book-- You will not see a Hoid book until I finish the first five books of Stormlight and the next Mistborn trilogy at the earliest. More likely it's after Stormlight is done.

    Writing for Charity Conference ()
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    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    There is a debate on what to call Shallan's Symbols, so we don't have such an ambiguous term for it .

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The Symbolhead?

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Yeah, the Symbolhead, Shallanspren.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    *laughter*

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    We don't really know what to call them.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Do I want to canonize this yet?

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    You don't have to canonize it yet.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I don't know if I want to canonize it yet. But I will say this. They are spren, that should be pretty obvious. They are the spren connected to what Shallan is capable of doing. But I don’t know if I want to canonize it yet. Truthspren is as good a name as any, and I would suggest you use that until further notice.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    When will second book of Legion be out on Audible?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably, I think November 1st is the scheduled release date and I think Audible--I can't promise this--but I think we are going to do the same thing we did with the first one, which is it will be free on Audible for like the first two months because they are short enough that charging a full credit for them is kind of, you know, they are one-third of a book, right? But you can't really split a credit into one-third credits. So if you do want to go buy Legion off of Audible, the Audible version is very nice and I think they sell it for five bucks or something, don't use a credit just go spend five bucks on it. And the second one--we did that one free for the first few months, and I think we may do the second one free for the first few months also.

    Questioner

    Are they planning to go that for Infinity Blade, like for an Audible release?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think there are plans right now, but the fact that you are interested makes me think maybe we should ask if they are interested.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    WeiryWriter

    Current status of the White Sand graphic novel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We have chosen a writer and the writing is quite good. We are very pleased with it, the person who's adapting the story. We have not chosen the artist yet, we have had several that have been sent to us. Each of them are doing an application with their art and we are now choosing among them. So if there's-- We are looking for professional comic book and graphic novel illustrators and so if there happened to be one of you out there who has done professional work in this field and has done--you have to be willing to commit to doing a lot of work and you have to work with Dynamite and things like this. Then you are more than welcome to contact us, but I think we are close to picking somebody.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    How much more do you want to write about Stephen Leeds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How much more do I want to write about Stephen Leeds, from Legion? I want to write a decent amount more. I have finished Legion 2, which you may have noticed, which is called Legion: Skin Deep. I had a really great name for a title, but I don't know if I can use it because Skin Deep is a reference to beauty, right? But I thought a great title would be Legion: Lies of the Beholder. I like the pun on that but that is also "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" so I can't make them all puns off of beauty. The original concept with Legion was to do a short that would--I imagine being a television show, it's how I imagined it and I wanted to do future episodes, so to speak. I particularly love the episode format they are doing for Sherlock on the BBC, if you guys have seen that, where your season is three hour-and-a-half long mini movies basically. And I love that format for a television show, I wish we could get more television shows doing that. I would rather sink my teeth into an hour-and-a-half long episode that has character growth, real growth and development, progress and the next one doesn't just hit the reset button and say, another adventure. It is progressing the characters further. I'd rather get three of those in a season than a twenty-two episode where of those episodes eighteen are just yet another adventure with no progress. And so--anyway that's how I imagine that.

    Questioner

    When Legion came out there was talk Hollywood was already interested.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, we sold the rights and then they let them lapse. They kept the rights for two years and they let them lapse.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    What was the reason for choosing the base form of Shardblades as blades, why not another form? Was it because of the spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Why was the base form of Shardblades chosen to as blades, as swords? It is because the Shardblades were devised... They were devised as imitations of the Honorblades, which were created and given to the Heralds. And so since the original pattern was the Honorblades, they were built to feel like the Honorblades.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
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    Questioner

    Will you tell us a little about the sword from Warbreaker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nightblood is a weapon that I devised. He is partially inspired by my love of Michael Moorcock's writing. He was built into the cosmere using many of the foundational cosmere magic system things that exist on multiple worlds.

    Writing for Charity Conference ()
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    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    In Well of Ascension, there are two strange "voice in the head" experiences. One of them is with Sazed and Marsh are fighting, and Sazed realizes that he can burn the metal rings that are now in his stomach. But the other one is with Elend, when a voice comes, and he's not sure where it comes from. It says something like "If you have a dagger, the only way to win is to go in for the kill"

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    That one, where it came from, is – I know what you are searching for, but it's actually just an old *inaudible* from weapons training. He's just dredging- he's not sure where it came from because he never thought he would need any of it, he thought he was just going to be a scholar. But his father did have him trained in weapons, so it's just instinct that he got from one of his old mentors in fighting.

    So there's nothing to see there, so no, he's not *inaudible*

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Okay. We were just wondering if it was Preservation, or Kelsier.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Nope. Unfortunately, no. I do that on occasion, but this time...