Recent entries

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #6951 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-One

    The Crew Moves into the Cavern

    Some of my alpha readers were far more worried about Sazed's team getting trapped in the cavern than I was—and of course one of the most vocal was Skar, my military friend. They figured that it would be so easy to box Sazed and company into that chamber that it was a tactical mistake for them to stay down there.

    I, however, figure that the dangers of possible assassins from the Citizen and of the building being rushed by soldiers were far more serious threats. If I were Sazed and Breeze, I'd rather be trapped in the well-stocked cache than in danger up above. But to each his own, I guess.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #6952 Copy

    Questioner

    When Hoid is talking to Dalinar he seems to expect that Dalinar may have heard of Adonalsium.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Adonalsium.  Yes.

    Questioner

    Why is that?  Why would he think that Dalinar would have knowledge about that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He thought that Dalinar was part of some of the secret societies on Roshar, and he had thought his way into thinking Dalinar was part of them and that was how Dalinar was knowing certain things he was knowing.  Which he really wasn't, he was getting from the storms and things like this, but he thought that Gavilar had confided things in Dalinar and that Dalinar would know more about this.  And so he was kind of testing to see, and he was wrong.  

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #6953 Copy

    Questioner

    In Words of Radiance and The Way of Kings, was there something important about the stone and the herald <in> the *inaudible* <scene> that has to do kind of with the stone, and maybe Tien giving him rocks?  Am I reading too much into that?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some of that is reading too much into it and some of it is real. I'm not going to tell you what is what. But the st-. . . there is definitely something about that.  

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #6954 Copy

    Questioner

    We all appreciate that you write real heroes who always try to do what's right, instead of the anti-hero.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a lot of anti-hero out there right now.  And I will let that to other writers.  I am more interested in people who are basically good people who are sometimes put in very difficult situations.  That is more fascinating to me than someone who has no morals or has very little of them.  

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #6955 Copy

    Questioner

    So Wit, is he in any other books besides The Way of Kings?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.  He has a nice big feature in Warbreaker.  He appears in all the others just in little pieces here and there.  In Warbreaker there is a storyteller that she meets with the dust and things like that and his name his Hoid.  

    Questioner

    What was the other one you said?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's in all of them, but in Elantris he's a guy with a hidden face that Sarene hires to carry supplies into Elantris.  In Mistborn he's a guy that Kelsier meets with that pretends to be blind, but then Kelsier notices he is not really blind.  He's an informant that Kelsier gets information from.  

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #6956 Copy

    Questioner

    If I were to start reading your books, which you would recommend I start with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Normally, I recommend that people either start with a book called Mistborn or a book called Warbreaker.  Warbreaker is a standalone.  It has a little more romance to it and it's a little lighter. Mistborn is a little more action oriented and a little more plot focused.  So it just depends what you're interested in.  

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6960 Copy

    Sandastron

    I’m very curious about pewter. How much Feruchemical pewter, steel, and gold would you have to take in in order to be equal to burning pewter and flaring.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh…um, okay. So you wanna...ok, let’s back this up. So you wanna know feruchemically what would it take to match burning?

    Sandastron

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay. So burning pewter, I kind of imagine...roughly doubling. Roughly.

    Sandastron

    Double your strength?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. But without the muscle mass change, it’s a magical boost. So because of that it has some pretty dramatic effects, like when Vin jumps and things like that.

    Sandastron

    So it’s only a double, so would flaring it bring it any higher?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Flaring would go higher.

    Sandastron

    Would it be like triple?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe like triple.

    Sandastron

    Maybe like tripling...that’s fascinating. So I always thought normal burning would triple it and flaring would quadruple.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah I always felt kind of double. You won’t see people burning pewter and lifting a car.

    Sandastron

    Right, exactly.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You see people burning pewter and delivering a really solid punch.

    Sandastron

    Gotcha, thank you. That is fascinating…and would it be about doubling speed and healing ability?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven’t worked out the numbers on that exactly. I have an instinct that says thatburning pewter, healing goes a bit faster but I have to look in the books and see what we’ve done in the past and then kind of canonize it.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6961 Copy

    Sandastron

    If someone burned atium in the modern era, after Sazed changed things around, would it do the same thing that it did in the previous era?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes it would.

    Sandastron

    It would? Interesting.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you could find some.

    Sandastron

    If you could find someā€¦

    Brandon Sanderson

    If it didn’t then Marsh would be dead.

    Sandastron

    Good point.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If it changed its powers.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6964 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you strike a balance between making sure you write something descriptive enough to get the scene across that you want but not overdoing it with too much...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Usually the thing to do, is to try to be really concrete. Don’t just say “a dog” say “a wet dog, limping and whining” and describe one really powerful sentence or two, and leave it at that. Describe a few of the small, powerful details and let the readers fill in the rest is a good rule of thumb. If you like things more descriptive you can go up from there. But that’s kind of where to start.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6965 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you know who Phineas Gage is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Questioner

    Okay, so he was a miner and had an iron rod shoot through his head...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah, yeah, yeah…

    Questioner

    ...and it changed his personality and stuff.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I have read about that.

    Questioner

    So if like consciousness and personality can exist independently of a body, if something like that happened to somebody in the cosmere would it change their personality?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would change their personality. Unless it were a hemalurgic spike but then that does usually twist you as well. Yes it still would. In the Cosmere most of these things will work the same way, because the body’s interpreting what’s going on.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6967 Copy

    Questioner

    In Perfect State, will we get more from that universe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’d like to, but I’ve got so many things going. So we’ll see. I know what I would do, but it would have to be like... I’d have to find space for it.

    Questioner

    Would the two antagonists get together?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah probably.

    Stormblessed.com interview with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #6969 Copy

    Questioner

    Can all spren imprint on someone—like Syl has with Kaladin—or is this ability special to certain types of spren? (I just got a mental picture of a flamespren taking notice of the pyromaniac noble girl from the castle market exercise in your JordanCon talk. Not sure that would end well.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is special to certain types of spren. There you go, a non-RAFO.

    Stormblessed.com interview with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #6970 Copy

    Questioner

    The spren are a really unique part of Roshar. Do you have rules for deciding what "gets" spren (wind, flames, glory, creation, life, death) and what doesn't? Have you introduced most of the spren types, or will we see a lot of new ones as the series goes on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will find out much more about the spren as the series goes on. There are a lot of things that get spren where the spren are not noticeable, or they only occur in very rare circumstances or in certain regions, as Axies explains. So the phrase "There's a spren for that" that I've seen popping around on the internet is actually fairly accurate. There's a spren for quite a lot of things. I don't want to delve too deeply into this until I've written more in the series and you begin to understand exactly what the spren are.

    Stormblessed.com interview with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #6971 Copy

    Questioner

    You've mentioned that each of the smaller glyphs on the inside cover of the The Way of Kings represents a type of magic. Can you tell us how many of these types we've seen so far?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Remember that to get an order of the Knights Radiant you take two of the small glyphs and one of the large glyphs. The large glyph represents a concept or an ideal mixed with an essence, what they call the elements of this world, with two magics attached to it. You have seen the Windrunners, which is the first, top-right glyph, mixed with the two Surges—the forces in this world—attached to it. So you've seen pressure and gravitation as mixed together to form a Windrunner. You have seen one of the other Surges, which is Soulcasting—Transformation—though which other Surges that mixes with to form orders of the Knights Radiant I am not specifically going to say at this time. What else have you seen? Those are the only ones that are overt. But you have seen the effects of others.

    Stormblessed.com interview with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #6972 Copy

    Questioner

    The art featured in The Way of Kings is very striking and has been well-received by readers. Do you have any plans to include more art in your future books—other books as well as The Stormlight Archive? Or maybe as bonus content on your website?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be more art in future Stormlight Archive books. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and I think adding a visual aspect to novels helps create a more complete and immersive experience. You'll notice that art has been important to one extent or another in all of my books. Elantris had its map and the Aons; Mistbornhad its maps and the Steel Alphabet. The Rithmatist, when it comes out in 2012, will have extensive magic system diagrams with every chapter.

    Including a map in a fantasy book has become a bit of a cliché ever since Tolkien did it. But if you go back and look at what Tolkien actually did, the map that was in the book was an in-world artifact—it was something the characters carried around with them and used. So I've approached the art in my books in a similar manner. Each piece represents something that is made and used by the people in the world of the books. I think that helps give a richer feel to the world I'm creating.

    One thing you probably won't see me doing in future novels is including character art. I want to leave exactly how characters look up to the imagination of the reader. But I'm a big fan of the sequential art storytelling form as well, so you'll likely see me do some completely graphic novels in the future.

    Stormblessed.com interview with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #6973 Copy

    Questioner

    In your words, "Is it okay, in an epic fantasy, to hang a gun on the mantle, then not fire it until book ten of the series written fifteen years later. Will people wait that long? Will it even be meaningful? My general instincts as a writer so far have been to make sure those guns are there, but to obscure them, or at least downplay them." Your novels are followed very closely by groups like TWG, and now 17th Shard and Stormblessed, and you're familiar with the obsessiveness of Wheel of Time fans. There are more and more people out there who spend time between book releases poking at the metaphorical walls of your work, on a hunt for those guns you've obscured. Does this kind of scrutiny change anything for you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I don't generally change the guns that I'm hanging, but I have begun to hang more subtle guns for those who like to dig. I like to have a variety of secrets in my books, with a variety of difficulty levels in figuring them out. If you read one of the books I've written, like The Way of Kings, I would hope that it will meet everyone's needs when it comes to discovering things. For those who really want to dig, there will be some really deep secrets that you can unearth, talk about, and theorize about and eventually be proven right. There will be things that the casual reader will figure out three pages before the answer is revealed, that you will have figured out ten chapters ahead of time. I like that variety because of the old adage—it's hard to fool everybody all the time, but hopefully I can have enough different secrets that they will each fool a few people.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6974 Copy

    Questioner

    If you had to build a team of various magic users from all the worlds that we know right now, kind of like an Avengers or Justice League, who would you have?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh boy, I have no...  I don’t want to talk about this because I don’t want to predispose people toward...

    Questioner

    Oh no, I’m just talking pure...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah but it’s being recorded.

    Questioner

    Oh, cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But I would want someone from every magic system...

    Questioner

    To be part of the council?

    Brandon Sanderson

    But yeah definitely someone from every...  would be important.

    Questioner

    Would the name of the team be a spoiler?  The whole team.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven’t even thought of... Seventeenth Shard...

    Questioner

    Oh yeah, that is kind of like that.

    The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
    #6975 Copy

    The Book Smugglers

    We Book Smugglers are faced with constant threats and criticisms from our significant others concerning the sheer volume of books we purchase and read—hence, we have resorted to 'smuggling books' home to escape scrutinizing eyes. Have you ever had to smuggle books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I married an English teacher with a book collection as large as my own, so I haven't had to worry about that for a long time. The smuggling of books I had to do was when I was a kid. I would be up late at night reading, and my parents would want me to go to bed for whatever reason. I mean, who needs sleep? But they would come and turn off my lights or do various things to get me to go to bed. I actually lit a Melanie Rawn book on fire once, by accident, because I was reading by candlelight. I've still got the copy.

    In high school, I would do the standard super-nerd-reader-boy thing where I would sneak a book into my lap as I was listening to some lecture in a boring math class.

    Wisely, when I got to college, I became an English major in my sophomore year. Now people expect me to read. In fact, part of my job is reading and keeping up to date on what everyone's doing. So I don't need to smuggle any books anymore, but I feel for those of you who do, and I would warn you not to read your books too close by candlelight, otherwise dire consequences can occur.

    The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
    #6976 Copy

    The Book Smugglers

    In addition to The Rithmatist, you've also ventured in the the Science Fiction realm with your short stories ("Defending Elysium" and "Firstborn"). We recently learned that you're creating a cool, limited edition tête-bêche ("head-to-toe") bind-up format of these two novelettes, in the style of the groovy old school Ace Doubles. What made you want to create this particular type of print version of your novelettes? And, since these are science fiction, tell us a little bit about writing scifi and how that differs (or is similar to) fantasy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    We were looking at doing con exclusives, something I can take to conventions to make them a little more special for those who make the extra effort to come see me. Yet we didn't think it would be fair to my readers who can't make it to the cons (my readers in Sweden, for instance) if I took a story that was only available at cons. But "Firstborn" and "Defending Elysium" fit perfectly. Both stories have been out awhile, and both are free to read online. If you can't make it to the con, you can still read and enjoy these stories.

    Singly, neither story was long enough to justify the price point required for us to go through all the effort to create a book. But both stories are science fiction, and both are novelettes, so doing an Ace Double-style book sounded like the way to go.

    A lot of my short fiction comes out as science fiction. When I sit down to write something short, I've often wondered why a science fiction story pops out. Why do my longer works come out as epic fantasy? I've got lots of theories. They're armchair theories from Brandon the English major, not so much from Brandon the writer.

    In science fiction, a lot of times the worldbuilding is easier to get across. Science fiction films have been such a part of our culture for so long, and imagining the what-ifs of the future leaves you with more groundwork to build upon, that in many ways there's more the reader immediately understands and accepts.

    I've often said that great stories are about great characters first. But beyond that, science fiction stories are about ideas and fantasy stories are about the setting. I think that's why when I come up with a great idea story, I write it as science fiction. If I come up with some interesting setting element, like a great magic system, I write it as fantasy. I've found that getting across an interesting and complex magic system in a very short amount of time is extraordinarily hard, so it tends to work better for longer stories.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6977 Copy

    Questioner

    For any other Secret Histories in the future, would those be on different planets or would you stick to Scadrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s possible to do others. The next one I write is probably still be Kelsier and Scadrial. But if I did another I would just call it, y’know, like “Warbreaker: Secret History”.

    The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
    #6979 Copy

    The Book Smugglers

    You create some of the most elaborate magic systems in fantasy today; these systems function as intrinsic parts of your worlds and characters. Typically, how do you address the different types of magic systems in your different books? Do you define these systems before you start writing the books, or do they evolve and develop as you go along?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The answer to that is yes! It's different for every book. With my Cosmere books—which are the shared universe of my epic fantasies—I need to be a little more rigorous. There are fundamental underlying principles that guide the magic systems, and so there's a larger developmental phase before I start writing the book. Then I stick more strictly to the rules I've given myself.

    All the way back in 2007, I was writing one of my epic fantasies, and it just wasn't working. I needed a break to something creative, different, and distinctive. So I jumped ship, abandoning that epic fantasy, and wrote The Rithmatist instead, which had a lot less planning than one of my epic fantasies.

    With something like The Rithmatist—which is outside the cosmere—I'm allowed a little more freedom, which is one of the reasons I like writing books like this, where I allow myself to develop it as I write. The magic was the first thing that got me excited about The Rithmatist, so I based the book around it.

    The first thing I wrote was the scene—now late in chapter one—where Joel watches Fitch get defeated by Nalizar in the classroom. It started out on a chalkboard, but I eventually moved it to the floor because that made more sense. As I was writing these chapters, I developed the Rithmatic lines and let the story feed the magic and the magic feed the story in a way that some writers call "discovery written."

    The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
    #6980 Copy

    The Book Smugglers

    In all of your other books, you write strong, layered female characters—what can we expect from The Rithmatist in the protagonist/heroine department?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I often worry about falling into the trap of making female characters strong by not making them feminine. In Mistborn, Vin is strong in part because of how good of a warrior she is, and that's fine. There are plenty of women like that, who can hold their own in a fight. But in The Rithmatist, one of the things I wanted to do was write a female character who is more girly, so to speak. I wanted to make her a strong protagonist in a way that does not undermine her femininity. I hope that I've managed to approach that with Melody in The Rithmatist.

    The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
    #6981 Copy

    The Book Smugglers

    Do you read YA speculative fiction? Which books or authors are your favorites in the young readers category?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've already mentioned a bunch of my favorites, but I could go on! I'm quite fond of Westerfeld's work. I think it's quite marvelous. I've read Terry Pratchett's teen books. If you've only read his adult work, you're really missing out. He is quite good. I've also enjoyed James Dashner's and Eva Ibbotson's books.

    I got into a lot of the YA classics in the late 90s, well after everyone else had been into them. Things like The Giver by Lois Lowry and Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen. Jane Yolen has long been one of my favorite writers. There's just a lot of exciting things happening in YA, and I feel inspired by a lot of the works by those authors I've mentioned

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6982 Copy

    Questioner

    What is Endowment’s long term plan?  Like just even in general, is she just like “Keep Nalthis safe” like Sazed is or is she like, does she have a plan for...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nooo, um...

    Questioner

    You don’t have to tell me but like, does she have a plan that involves the cosmere...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not really.

    Questioner

    ...or is it just to stay on...

    Brandon Sanderson

    She’s more focused on her thing.

    The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
    #6983 Copy

    The Book Smugglers

    What can your fans expect from The Rithmatist, as compared to your other adult novels? Was it easier or harder to write for a YA audience (or was there anything different about the writing process for this particular book)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question! I wouldn't say it's either easier or harder. For me, a story grows in my mind till I just can't ignore it anymore, and I have to write it. That certainly happened with The Rithmatist.

    As for what I did differently, there are a couple things. When I work on a teen book, I usually try to focus the viewpoints. That's one of the big distinctions for me between an epic fantasy that has teen characters—like the Mistborn books—and a book that I've specifically written for a teen audience. I usually focus on a single character—maybe two—so the narrative is a bit more streamlined.

    The other big difference here is that I really wanted to write something with a sense of fantasy whimsy to it. I say whimsical, and it might be the right term, and yet it's not. For example, the magic system is one of the most rigorous and specific that I've written. I hope readers will find it as interesting as I do—with the defensive circles and the different types of lines.

    With my epic fantasy books like The Way of Kings, for example, I looked at the size of the planet, its gravitation, its oxygen content—all the sorts of things that allow me to worldbuild with some scientific rigor. I consciously didn't want to do that with The Rithmatist. I replaced the United States with the United Isles, turning the country into an archipelago. I shrank the planet, and I did really weird things to the history of the world because I thought it would be fun. For example, I let Korea conquer the world, because I'm a fan of Korean history.

    It's not like I'm sitting down and saying, "What is plausible?" I'm sitting down and saying, "What is awesome?" Then I write a story in which that awesomeness can shine. I let myself do that in my YA works more than in my adult works to give them a different feel. Writing this way allows me to exercise different muscles.

    I believe that children and teens are better able to mode shift. When they pick up a book, they don't necessarily feel that it has to fit in one of the genre boxes. As an author, that allows you to do some interesting things in teen that are harder to do within an adult genre. 

    The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
    #6984 Copy

    The Book Smugglers

    First and foremost, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us!

    You are an established (and highly respected and loved) author of adult fantasy (we are huge fans of your Mistborn books, The Way of Kings, and Warbreaker—excuse us while we fangirl a little bit). The Rithmatist, however, is a young adult title—what made you want to get into the YA space? Do you read YA fantasy novels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    First off, thank you very much! I really appreciate the fangirling. I do read quite a bit of YA fiction. In fact, during the era when I was trying to break into publishing—the late 90s and early 2000s—a lot of the really exciting things in sci-fi and fantasy were happening in YA and middle grade. Garth Nix, J.K. Rowling, Dianna Wynne Jones and others created some wonderfully imaginative writing during this time.

    I dipped my toes into middle grade with my Alcatraz series soon after I got published. I hadn't written a YA before, but I wanted to—for the same reason I write epic fantasy: there are awesome things I can do in in epic fantasy that I can't do in other genres. And there are awesome things I can do in teen fiction that I don't feel I can get away with in the same way in adult fiction.

    Science fiction and fantasy have a very fascinating connection with YA fiction. If you look at some of the series I loved as a youth—the Wheel of Time, Shannara, and the Eddings books, for example—these have enormous teen crossover. In fact, when you get to something like the Eddings books, you've got to wonder if they would've been shelved in the teen section in a later era.

    Back up even further to the juveniles that were written by Heinlein and others, and we see that teen fiction has been an integral part of science fiction and fantasy. Some of the early fantasy writings—things like Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass and C.S. Lewis's works—were foundational in how the fantasy genre came to be.

    So YA feels like a very natural thing for me to be writing because I enjoy it and I respect what it has done for the genres.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6985 Copy

    Titan Arum

    If a Hoed goes to the shardpool in the mountains, what happens to them in the Cognitive Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What do you think happens to them?

    Titan Arum

    I want to say that the IRE, but I know they’re not because they’re really, really, really, really old.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have...

    Questioner 2

    I have a theory that that’s how you get seons.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here’s the thing, here’s the thing, what have I said about the Cognitive Realm on Sel?

    Titan Arum

    That it’s really, really dangerous.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Any guesses why?

    Titan Arum

    Because the Shards are Splintered so all the power of the Dor is kind of sloshing around and it’s basically like a highstorm there.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, what would happen if someone went into there through the shardpool?

    Titan Arum

    It’s probably not as good as they think it is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Titan Arum

    Would they get splintered like that?

    Brandon Sanderon

    No they’d just...

    Titan Arum

    Would they get ripped apart?

    Brandon Sanderon

    Yeah. That’s why it’s really dangerous.

    Titan Arum

    Ouch.

    Questioner

    So the Elantrians are just dying when they go in...

    Questioner

    So when the Hoed or the Elantrians go in...

    Brandon Sanderon

    For the...let’s just say they’re cast into a very dangerous environment without any preparation for it.

    Questioner

    So how’d the Ire get there?

    Questioner

    They have gone before or they may have been properly prepared.

    Brandon Sanderon

    There’s some theories, that are theories that could totally be the case.  Or you could theorize others as well.

    Fantasy Faction Q&A ()
    #6986 Copy

    Tym

    Hi, I could be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that you're writing an Urban Fantasy? Just double checking tha t:P

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wrote one as a 'for fun' deviation during a break about a year and a half ago. I do this often, experimenting. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This time, it was fun, but it wasn't high enough quality to release. Perhaps I will re-visit it, but more likely, I will leave it alone. Any artist creates 'b-sides' so to speak as they practice different styles and experiment. This was one of mine, and I don't like the idea of releasing something that didn't turn out well enough.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6987 Copy

    Questioner

    The age of the Ire is really, really, really old, is that the age of the organization, or the age of those members.

    Brandon Sanderon

    Of those members, they, yes, are really, really, really old.

    Questioner

    So each person in the IRE is really old, not just that the IRE...

    Brandon Sanderon

    Yes.

    Fantasy Faction Q&A ()
    #6988 Copy

    Overlord

     I remember you saying originally that a lot of your work you wrote from your heart and based upon your own interests. I believe you struggled to get much attention from this early work and I believe you said Mistborn you wrote for the market as opposed to for yourself. Now that you are self-publishing certain titles, do you think we will be seeing more 'unique' and 'out-there' projects? I.e. Fantasy that is quite unlike things we have seen before?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You've got the story mostly right, though it was the original draft of Mistborn (that did not get published) which was a 'For the market' book. It was awful. The Way of Kings was the book I wrote after that, giving no care to the world, writing only from my heart--and so you can say I've already started doing that. I would like to point out, though, that the second version of Mistborn (the one that got published, in which I tossed aside everything but the magic system and some original character concept) as in my mind a 'return to form' of the books like Elantris that I'd been writing and feeling were not getting attention.

    Fantasy Faction Q&A ()
    #6989 Copy

    Overlord

    Now that you are self publishing - has it given you a new found respect for those who have been self publishing from the beginning? I mean, now you are no doubt speaking with printers, typesetters, cover artists, reviewers, convention organisers. I guess you are having to market your own titles as well (although you've always been a great author for self promotion). Also, has the amount of work surprised you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I get to cheat. I've done well enough that I have a full-time assistant with a lot of experience in desktop publishing. So, I can hand him the book, and he can take it to design town. That said, we on the more traditional track have had to do some eating of our words in recent years. Once upon a time there was a large stigma to self-publishing, and we all kind of got infected by it. So when it became viable as a real, serious alternative for authors, we had trouble getting rid of our biases.

    I wouldn't say the amount of work has surprised me, as I've paid attention to those self-publishing. I teach a writing and publishing class, and I've found that as publishing changes, I've had to keep my eyes on what it takes to publish reasonably on your own. I also know how much work goes into publishing a book on the publisher's end, and had no illusions about how much work it would take us.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #6990 Copy

    Questioner

    What advice would you give to people who want to be authors?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What advice would I give to people who want to be authors? ...You want to be a writer? So, I have these little cards that say "so you want to be a writer", I'm going to pass one back to you. So the number one thing I'd say that as a writer you want to know is, your duty, your job, is to practice in such a way that you can become a person who can write great books. Your job is not to write a great book. Your job is to practice so you become people who write great books. So treat becoming a writer like you treat becoming a pianist, or becoming a doctor, or anything else that is a goal you want to achieve. Say, I'm going to take years to do this. I'm going to practice consistently. And I am going to not stress right now if I am not achieving what I want to do. You don't start off doing brain surgery, you don't start off playing Rachmaninoff. You start off practicing and just do that. If you are willing to do that, you will improve and you will be surprised how fast you grow. If instead you're like I need to write the perfect paragraph or the perfect chapter before I can move on, and you stare at that and beat your head against it you will never improve.

    There's a story told by someone, you can google this online, just look for the, ah-- pottery-- uh, oh... trying to remember what it's called-- Alright I can't tell you how to google it but maybe your googlefu is better than mine when I tell you the story. So there's this person who teaches pottery and he shared in his book--and I've read the book, and seen it, and things like this--a story about how he one year split his class in half, and had one half, the new beginners in pottery, their job was each week their grade was going to be based on how good a pot they made. They've gotta make the best pot they can every week, turn it in, he would give them a grade for that week. And, you know, that's how good you were. The second group, he said you're going to get a grade based on the weight of all the pots you create this week, meaning we're just going to weigh them and if you hit this certain amount you are going to get an A, if you get this certain amount you're going to get a B. He did this for the entire semester teaching exactly the same way and at the end he said "Now make the best pot you can" to both groups. And the best pots all came from the group who did their grade by weight. All of them. The best pots came from that group. Not the people who tried to make a perfect pot every week, but the people who tried to make the most pots every week. And that works in creative endeavors quite a bit, that practice trumps perfection on the small scale when you're starting.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #6994 Copy

    Questioner

    You've developed so many worlds and so many magic systems, how do you keep them all straight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How do I keep everything straight, all the worlds and all the magic systems? I use a wiki--

    Questioner

    You do your worlds all at once--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nah I jump around-- I use a wiki. I use a personal wiki called WikidPad, you can't use it, it's only mine, and it's like 400,000 words at last count, which is about the length of Way of Kings. And I have now a continuity editor who goes in after I write a book and they put everything in. That's my method. But I am kind of scatterbrained, I will forget my keys, I'll go to the airport without my wallet and have to talk my way through security. But I don't forget stories. They stick up there.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #6995 Copy

    Questioner

    Since Disneyland is taking over the world, Disneyland is obviously Librarians. So is Alcatraz ever going to visit Disneyland?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh that's a good question. He should because Disneyland is totally Librarians. They totally run that. I will consider that. I will consider that. Good question. Alcatraz 5 is written. We're re-releasing the Alcatraz books with new covers and new artwork and all sorts of cool things like that starting January of next year [2016] and they'll run straight through to the fifth book which will come out in the summer sometime.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #6996 Copy

    Questioner

    If you could have any of your powers from any of your novels, in the real world, which one would it be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Which power would I have? I would definitely be an Allomancer. Because all the metal we've got around-- steelpusher-- coinshot, I would just jump all over the place, it would be super cool. That's not the smart one to pick, no, because there are ones that'll be like "this can keep you alive", or "be immortal!" But no I'm gonna push on metals and fly.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #6997 Copy

    Questioner

    What is the most unforgettable frustration ever since you became a writer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah most unforgettable frustration since becoming a writer. Boy. I would say that, as a writer, since being published the number one frustration is sometimes I have to meet a deadline instead of just going off and writing whatever bizarre thing I want. I still do that a lot but once in a while I've got to meet a deadline, and I've been training myself to be like no, I'm writing this book, and I have to be creative and excited about that book. And I can't write until I get creative and excited about it. So it's that trying to get myself to make sure that I'm created and excited about a book, that's very difficult. I would say that touring is also, it gets very exhausting. I was surprised at by how exhausting  going on tour a lot can do. We've mitigated that by keeping me from having to get early mornings, when I don't have to have an early morning I'm much more chipper. I'm not a morning person, I'm a night person, and numerous days in a row with not enough sleep can make me a zombie.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #6999 Copy

    Questioner

    So it's one thing to write a book, how do you pitch a book then? What was the hardest pitch?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh pitches are hard. How do you pitch books, is what she's asking. So hard. You know what taught me to pitch books was standing in book stores. In my early days I would ask them, like I would do a signing at a Barnes and Noble and no one would come of course, because no one had ever heard of me. So it was really me standing behind a cart by the door, trying to shill my book to everyone who walked in the doors. Very used car salesman. "So, you like fantasy novels? You know anyone that likes fantasy novels? Have you heard of The Hobbit?" And so what I had to do it I had to come up with a two sentence way to tell people what my book was. And so if you have a book I would practice on just people-- you know, your acquaintances and say "Can i tell you about my book I just so I can practice", see if you can get it down to two or three sentences. And once you start doing that you'll get a feel for what things you can talk about in your book that made people say "Oh, that's cool" and what made their eyes glaze over. Usually stay away from a lot of names and background stuff, and point toward one great concept in your book, whether it's a character concept or what. When I pitched Mistborn I'm like "what if the hero who'd been prophesied to save the world failed?". Like what if Frodo had gotten to the end of Lord of the Rings and Sauron had said "thanks for bringing my ring back, I've been looking for that", and killed him and took over the world? You know, "what if", and that was how I started that one. 

    Questioner

    And was that how you pitched it to your publisher?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I pitched the publishers I was not nearly as good at it as I am now and I just relied on my writing sample to get me through. My pitches were terrible, so don't-- It's very hard to learn but the only way to do it is to practice with people. That's good, that's going to take you further than anything.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
    #7000 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you thought any more of metal allergies with your Allomancy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would definitely not be pleasant.

    Questioner

    Because I have the steel allergy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You have the steel allergy, huh?

    Questioner

    Yeah, I actually got it last year. I have a steel allergy and I work in a steel plant.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Aww man. It would not be pleasant, I can definitely say that. Although, I would have the instinct that fewer people on Scadrial would have that allergy because of the Investiture during their creation. But it could totally happen.