Recent entries

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7102 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tertiary Projects

    Dark One

    Ah, the eternal Dark One update. If you've been reading State of the Sanderson posts for a while now, you might be looking forward to this one (still) making no progress.

    My anti-Harry Potter story told from the viewpoint of a boy who discovers he is prophesied to be the Dark One…has made no progress this year. I've had a ton of trouble writing this one. I did set aside three different versions of the first chapter of this, each of which have a very different tone from one another, to be Patreon Random Hat Rewards for January, February, and March. If you want to read "The Eyes" and these three chapters, you could sign up for those months only.

    Be warned, though, the Patreon is primarily intended for people who want to support Writing Excuses. The rewards are mostly afterthoughts as a thank you, rather than true incentives to coax you into spending money. The tidbits you'll get probably aren't going to be worth the $10 you give for them. (For example, each of the ones I've mentioned are a few thousand words at most.)

    The real reward is supposed to be Writing Excuses going ad-free, so don't sign up just to get the fiction.

    Status: Nope.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7104 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tertiary Projects


    My epic science fiction space opera super-series is getting closer to finding a home. I can talk a little more about it, as I spin up my mind on the outlines.

    I've envisioned Adamant as a sequence of novellas, released episodically through the year, one every other month. Ideally, I write four of them, then find co-authors for the other two to give them a slightly different feel, like you'd see on a television show à la Doctor Who or Star Trek.

    If I did this though, I'd want to have all four of my parts done first as the backbone of the "season" of books. The last thing I need is another unfinished series looming over me.

    I've only written one "episode" so far, but had a kind of breakthrough on how to work out some of the visuals and worldbuilding for the series. So it's inching closer to the front burner. You might see a progress bar for it pop up this year.

    Status: Novella 2 could happen at any time.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7105 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tertiary Projects


    The new Marvel television show is unrelated, but it being out killed our chances of a television show based on these books. I do want to do a third story, but might save it for another short story collection (with all of the non-cosmere works like this, Perfect State, etc.)

    I really wanted Legion to be a television show, even before I started writing the first story. So we might rebrand them, calling them simply Leeds, and try another run through Hollywood with the new titles. If so, another novella would certainly help us get attention there. We'll see.

    Status: Probably not this year, but still on my radar.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7107 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary Projects

    White Sand

    The graphic novel incorporating the first third of the book was a huge success, so we're going full-steam on the second part. And, of course, Khriss (one of the main characters) is the in-world author of many essays in Arcanum Unbounded. So Taldain is still peeking up here and there, reminding everyone it's part of the cosmere.

    I don't have control over when the second part of the graphic novel comes out. That all depends on the artist's schedule—but I have assurances from the publisher that it won't take too terribly long. We'll post when we know for sure about release dates.

    Status: Second volume actively being worked on.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7108 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary Projects


    The plan is to alternate Stormlight Books with Elantris sequels after I finish Wax and Wayne. Likely I'll go into Stormlight 4 sometime in 2018, but there's a chance I do Elantris 2 first. It won't be written this year—that plate is full of the books mentioned above—but we're growing ever closer and closer to getting back to Sel.

    Status: Not this year. Small chance of being written in 2018.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7109 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary Projects


    My big reveal for Alcatraz promised one more book in this series, though you shouldn't read that blog post until you read the first five books.

    I will probably do Rithmatist 2 before Alcatraz Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians. But I can't say for certain. This is where that part about books being art, and not science, comes into play. I can't say exactly what my inclinations will be on these books, as I need some freedom built into my schedule. We'll see what happens.

    Status: Soooon also, but a little less soooon.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7110 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary Projects

    The Rithmatist

    A sequel to The Rithmatist is looking likely this year, depending on some factors (such as how long Stormlight revisions take.) This is the single most requested book I hear about, though that's probably because people know that Stormlight is coming along very well already.

    Some people do wonder why I'd do like The Apocalypse Guard before The Atzlanian (Rithmatist 2). It comes down to having two publishers. Stormlight, Rithmatist, and Wax and Wayne are all books for Tor. I need to give Delacorte some love too, and they've waited patiently all year for me to finish Stormlight. So they get the next major writing time slot.

    I hear you, Rithmatist fans. We'll get something to you before too much longer. My son Joel (who has a character in the book named for him) is getting old enough to read The Rithmatist, and so I intend to read it with him together, and then jump into the second book sometime soon.

    Status: Soooooon.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7111 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Main Projects

    The Apocalypse Guard

    This is my next YA book series, in the same universe as the Reckoners. The simple pitch is: Emma is the intern/coffee girl for the Apocalypse Guard, a group of scientists, engineers, and superhumans specialized in saving planets from extinction-level events.

    When the Apocalypse Guard headquarters gets attacked by a shadowy and unexpected force, Emma gets stuck on a doomed planet they were planning to save. She has to either find a way off, or find a way to put the Apocalypse Guard's plans into motion—and do so with no training, no powers, and no support.

    This will be my next writing project, between Oathbringer revisions and Wax and Wayne 4. Like the Reckoners, it's right on the borderline between YA and Adult—and might be published in my adult line of novels in some countries.

    I intend the series to follow in the footsteps of the Reckoners—having the feel of a science fiction/superhero action film. Sometimes as a reader (and as a writer), I want something a little less "steak dinner" and a little more "hamburger and fries," if that makes any sense.

    Stormlight is my steak dinner, and while I originally thought of Wax and Wayne as hamburger and fries, by books two and three they became steak dinners too. (Just a 6oz fillet instead of a 12oz T-bone.)

    Okay, that metaphor is getting a little out of control. I might need to go out for steak for my dinner. Let's just say that the Reckoners managed to hit that sweet spot of fun action, interesting worldbuilding, and quick plots I was looking for—so I'm eager to do something similar. The Apocalypse Guard is the next step; look for the progress bar to start on it sometime early in 2017.

    Status: Outlining almost finished; will be my next project.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7112 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Main Projects


    The Lost Metal, Wax and Wayne Four, will be my next non-YA novel project. I still intend to write it so that it can come out in 2018. You should see a progress bar for it pop up sometime in the fall of 2017.

    This will be the last Wax and Wayne book. Because of fan outcry, we're just going to call the Wax and Wayne books "Era Two" of Mistborn from here out, and I'm sorry for the "Era 1.5 fiasco" of last year. That would have worked if I'd started calling it that from the get-go, but it's too late now.

    Once Era Two is done, we'll let Mistborn lie fallow for a few years while I move on to Elantris/Warbreaker sequels. (See below.)

    Status: Book Seven (W&W 4) being outlined.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7113 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Main Projects

    The Stormlight Archive

    Book Three is done! Edgedancer is out!

    I'll be spending about four months of 2017 doing revisions on Oathbringer, then will have a tour in the fall. (Might manage to get to the UK on that one too.) Things are looking good for Stormlight and Roshar, and not just because we are working on a film. I'm excited for you to read the next installment.

    I'm officially adding "Oathbringer (Stormlight 3) third draft" to the progress bar, now that I'm almost done with the second draft. (Most of which was completed during writing the first draft, as I explained above.)

    Book Four will probably not be released until 2020—I'll start managing those expectations now, rather than trying to promise 2019 like I thought I might be able to do, once upon a time.

    As I always promise, I'll see if I can speed that up. But if you take the year it took to outline Book Three and add eighteen months to actually write it, we're already at 2.5 years—not counting other projects I want to do.

    Status: Book Three in revisions, out in 2017.

    State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
    #7114 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    My Year

    This year was almost completely dominated by the writing of Oathbringer, Book Three of the Stormlight Archive. The first files I have for the book were Kaladin scenes, written in June 2014. But the book didn't really start in earnest until July 2015, when I wrote the Dalinar flashback sequence. (See State of the Sanderson 2015.) I had those done by October, but November was when I really dove into the novel.

    I spent most of 2016 working on it, with only a few interruptions. It was an extremely productive year spent writing on something I'm very passionate about—but it was also a monochrome year, as I poured so much into Stormlight. There were far fewer side projects, and far fewer deviations, than the year before.

    I've come to realize I can't do a Stormlight book every year, or even every two years. You can see that this one took around 18 months of dedicated writing time (though that does include some interruptions for edits and work on other things.) My process is such that, when I finish something like Stormlight, I need to move on for a while to refresh myself.

    That said, Oathbringer is done as of last week! Here's a quick breakdown of the year.

    January: Oathbringer

    A lot of this month was revisions. I decided to do something unusual for me, and revise each chunk of the book as I completed it, which let me get my editor working on his notes early in the year—rather than making him wait until this month, when the whole thing finished. That means I'll soon have a second draft of the book completed, though I only completed the first draft a little bit ago.

    Also squeezed into January was a trip to Bad Robot, where I had a cool meeting with J.J. Abrams. (In conjunction with a video game my friends at ChAIR Entertainment are making—the Infinity Blade guys. I just gave a few pointers on the story; I'm not officially involved.)

    February: Calamity Tour

    I toured for Calamity, the last book of the Reckoners. The whole series is out now, so check it out! There is a nice hardcover boxed set of all three available in most bookstores, and it makes a great gift.

    While on tour, I read from Stormlight 3, and some kind person recorded the reading for you all. Also, here's another version from FanX in SLC.

    March: Trip to Dubai

    I was invited to, and attended, the Emirates Festival in Dubai, then traveled south to Abu Dhabi to visit some friends. This was an extended trip, and I often find it difficult to work on a main project (like Stormlight) while traveling. I have too many interruptions. I can write something self-contained, but have more trouble with something very involved.

    On this trip, I wrote a novella called Snapshot: a science Fiction detective story where people solve crimes using exact recreations of certain days in the past. It's a little Philip K. Dick, a little Se7en. This one's coming out in February, and will likely be my only release in 2017 other than Oathbringer (which will be in November). More details here.

    April: Oathbringer

    I got back into the groove of writing, and did a big chunk of Oathbringer Part Two. If you missed the discussions on Reddit, here are my various updates there spanning about a year's time, talking about the book: One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.

    May: Edgedancer

    I took a short break from Stormlight 3 to write…Stormlight 2.5, an extended story about Lift, with smaller appearances by Szeth and Nale. If you want to get your Stormlight fix before the release in 2017, you can find Edgedancer in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection. (There will eventually be a solo ebook release, but that's a number of years away, as required by my contract with Tor.) I also wrote essays and annotations for each world and/or story in the collection.

    When I decided I wasn't going to kill myself (and my team) trying to get Oathbringer out in 2016, I committed to writing this novella to tide people over. I think you'll enjoy this one, unless you're one of the people that Lift drives crazy. In which case you'll probably still enjoy it, but also want to punch her in the face for being too awesome.

    June-August: Oathbringer

    I finally got a good long chunk of time dedicated to Oathbringer.

    I do love traveling, but it takes a big bite out of my writing time. So please don't get offended when I can't make it out to visit your city or country on tour. I try to do as much as I can, but I'm starting to worry that has been too much. Last year, for example, I was on the road 120 days for tours or conventions. This year was a little better, clocking in at about 90 days.

    September: Alcatraz Release & Writing Excuses Cruise

    Book Five of my middle grade series, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, came out this month. (A long-awaited book.) You should read it.

    The cruise was a fun time, but very unproductive for me. There is too much going on, and too much to organize, for me to get much writing done. I did finish one chapter of a potential novella on the single day of writing time I got. (The story, called "The Eyes," is a space opera inspired by Fermi's Paradox.)

    I might do something with the chapter eventually, but for now I'm sending it in to be this month's Random Hat reward for the $10 patrons of Writing Excuses on Patreon.

    As a warning to those planning on attending the cruise in 2017: we'll have a ton of awesome guest instructors, and it will be well worth your time and money. I, however, won't be attending. I'll be on the cruise other years in the future, but (like JordanCon, which I love) I can't promise to go every year. Once every two or three years is more likely. It's just a matter of trying to balance touring/teaching with writing.

    By the way, JordanCon, FanX, and Dragon Con had some amazing costumes this year—but I'll save those for another post.

    October: Europe Tour

    Though I had a few good weeks of writing between the end of the cruise and the start of the Europe trip, I quickly lost steam again as I visited France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal on tour. I had an awesome time, signed a ton of books, and met many people in excellent costumes.

    November: Arcanum Unbounded Release

    Finally, I released Arcanum Unbounded: the Cosmere Collection. The tour for this was short, and I apologize for that, but…well, there's this writing thing I need to do sometimes…

    December: Writing Excuses and Oathbringer

    I got about half the episodes for next year's writing excuses season recorded at various locations, and then finally managed to type "THE END" for Oathbringer.

    There's still a lot of work left on the book, but I'm confident we'll hit our November 2017 release date.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7115 Copy


    Do you find Time to work on your personal projects and as an Artist how to you reconcile the two ?

    Ben McSweeney


    I'm afraid I've largely set aside my personal work, I find little bits of time for it here and there but when I have to balance it against time with my family or time spent working for pay, it gets the short end. It doesn't hurt, I suppose, that I'm happy as a hired gun. Mostly what I like is working, I like to create and produce, and what I'm producing (or for whom) isn't always that important, so long as it's fun. :)

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7116 Copy


    Any sweet secrets you can share about Stormlight 3?? :)

    Ben McSweeney

    Nope. I like my job, and I wanna keep it. :)

    I only know a few secrets about Stormlight anyway, and I have no idea when or if Brandon will ever reveal 'em. I don't pry too deeply, because I enjoy reading the novels as much as anyone and I don't want too many spoilers (unless they're related to Shallan subjects).

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7117 Copy


    In his chapter annotations, Brandon specifically pointed out the scene in Well of Ascension where Vin and the Koloss walk out of the mists, and said that- well, let me just find the quote... Ah, here it is.

    "The scene where Vin walks away with the koloss in the mists, sword over her shoulder, all of them making silhouettes. . .well, that’s one I wish someone would do an artistic rendering of sometime."

    As far as I can tell, nobody has ever done a rendering of that scene (though you have done one that was similar, with just Vin in the mists- that image now adorns my mousepad. :) thanks!)- have you ever thought about doing it? I'd love it if you did. ;)

    Brandon Sanderson

    The illustration of Vin you mention was, in fact, an aborted start to illustrating that very scene. One day I might get back to it. :)

    General Reddit 2016 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The number of authors with creative control of films are very small, and sell orders of magnitude more copies than I do. (Sorry ). It is either sell the rights and hope to be involved, or have no film.


    It might sound insensitive but....are you not as big as I thought? You, Butcher and Rothfus (or maybe Martin...special mentions to McClellan and Weeks)....I always imagine you three as the BIG names in the genre of the generation. I guess I have the bias of how much I love your books but it seems to me someone so acclaimed could in the figurative sense "name their price"

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not insensitive. I'm pretty happy to be able to be make a living at all, let lone to be as successful as I've been. I'm certainly "big" for fantasy--the issue isn't that, it's that even popular books just don't make a dent in film numbers. It takes so much to finance a film these days, that it's very rare (and requires a huge, huge fanbase) for anyone to risk putting an author in charge. We're not a known element.

    For example, Stephenie Meyer (of Twilight fame) wasn't popular enough to get creative control from a major studio, which resulted in her going to a second string studio to get the power she wanted. And she was orders of magnitude more popular than GRRM is now. The only author I know of to manage it for sure is Rowling.

    In answer to your question, last I checked (which was around the end of the year last year) Pat, and Jim, and myself were basically even. Pat sold the least of us three that year, but when he has a new book out, he jumps to the highest of us by a significant margin. Over time, we are pretty even in the US. (Though it should be noted Pat does that with far fewer books than the other two of us.)

    George was about five times our numbers, and there weren't any fantasy writers in between him and us that I recall. Dashner (author of Maze Runner, and a friend of mine, so I thought to look) was about seven times our numbers. (Even with Grisham.) Hunger Games was about double us. Big romance/thriller writers hovered at around George's level.

    Fifty Shades of Grey (the one book alone, not the series) in its first year sold about 10 times what Pat, Jim, and I sell in a year. So while we might be big sellers for our respective genres, we become small fish when we swim out into romance/thriller waters. The only one who can hold his own out there is George, and maybe Niel Gaiman. (I didn't think to glance at his numbers.)

    And even they don't sell enough to name their price with a film studio. These are places with the kind of cash flow that they could buy every single copy of every Sanderson, Rothfuss, AND Butcher book ever printed, misplace them on accident, then shrug and write it off.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7121 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not planning a 'regular' novel edition of White Sand, though I do still send the old (unedited and not-quite-canon-version) to people who write through my website form and ask for it.

    I fully intend to do some stories set in this world, in prose form, eventually. However, I won't retell the story of the graphic novel. I'll make them their own thing. However, there's so much on my plate that I can't promise when (or even if) I will actually do that.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7123 Copy


    I've always pictured Rock and the Unkalaki / Horneaters as Pacific Islanders. Are they based on Pacific Islanders despite their red hair?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Their linguistics and some parts of their culture are based on Pacific Islanders, though their physical characteristics are not.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7125 Copy


    I read Perfect State when it came out. Reading your annotations and the deleted scene has jogged my memory. Honestly, I never made the connection that Sophie was Melhi for all intents and purposes. I believed Melhi's facade and thought he was simply a crazed do-no-gooder (I totally forgot that the Wode mentioned Melhi's gender).

    Reading the deleted scene makes things alot clearer though. I was chatting with a friend about the deleted scene and we agreed that we're glad it was omitted. It smelled too much of the Matrix and, worse, it cheapened Kai's betrayal. That is, "Sophie" didn't really die. The person that Kai found attractive due to her outlook and personality was in fact not a creation on Melhi's part to simply hurt Kai but was Melhi being her honest self (I imagine it's much easier to just be yourself then construct a person as realistic as Sophie). Melhi being Sophie undoes the reversal of Sophie being a robot. Shadows of Self spoiler: It'd be like if at the end, after the Lessie/Paalm reveal, we find out it's really a different Kandra after all.

    Regardless, the deleted scene interests me and leaves me wanting a sequel.

    Edit: More thoughts. I appreciate understanding Melhi's motivation for how and why she does what she does. I don't think I picked up on that. Again, I took Melhi at face-value. I would say that Melhi is pretty selfish though. She feels she knows best for everyone else. That it's better for others to feel the same way about being a brain in a jar as she does. This is obviously an opinion though as any revolutionary can be viewed as a traitor.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think your analysis is spot on, both about what the scene does to the story, and Melhi's character. I would call her selfish, but in an approaching self-aware way.

    Either way, I'm glad to have this out there, but--though I go back and forth on it--I'm mostly glad that I left it out of the official release of the story.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
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    If [Mistborn: Birthright] doesn't come out, would we see a book based around the story that was written for the game?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's possible. I did send in an outline for the story of it. I could use that for a story, though I've got a full plate right now.


    Would you consider doing it as a graphic novel (if the White Sand graphic novels do well of course, though I really don't have any doubts about that)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, that's actually a really good idea.

    This could be a very elegant solution. I'll think about it.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
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    [The sunrise metaphor] is one of my favorite quotes. Did you spend much time rewriting it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This one took a fair bit of time to craft.

    Going into Calamity, one of the things I knew I wanted to show was that David could--on occasion--really NAIL a metaphor. That he wasn't completely hopeless; he just often spoke without thinking or finding the right setting.

    Here, I needed the metaphor to be more than just silly--or even more than just "This is really sweet, once he explains it." It needed to work in a way one hadn't before. So I spent a great deal of time pivoting on this scene in my head, trying to determine the way to go.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7128 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I was working on Mistborn 2 with my editor, he asked me, "Are Vin and Elend sleeping together?" I said, "Absolutely." He requested some confirmation of it on the page, and I explained something that has always been my policy, and one that has served me well.

    I consider what I'm writing to be a very detailed script, which you the reader direct in your mind. Each person's version of the books will be slightly different, but in sometimes telling ways. The subtext of conversations will change, the visualizations of the characters, even larger implications are changed, distorted, and played with by the reader as they build the story in their imagination.

    This is an area in which I prefer to leave the answers to the reader. For those who wish to imagine that the characters are having sex, then the implications are often there. (Though I've gotten better at that balance, I feel.) For those who don't want to imagine it, and wish to pretend the characters are living different standards, I will often leave the opportunity for that--unless it is a plot point I consider relevant.

    Certainly, my upbringing and beliefs are an influence on this. I'm obviously more circumspect in these areas than I am in others.

    But yes, for those who don't want to pretend otherwise, Vin and Elend were sleeping together. And Wax and Lessie never had a real ceremony. My editor tried to remove the word "wife" from one of the later books, and I insisted, as the shift in Wax's thinking was a deliberate point on my part--related to his changing psychology in the books. But even to him, it's more a 'common law wife' thing.

    As a side note you'll likely find amusing, I do get a surprising number of emails from people who complain to me (even take me to task) for the amount of objectionable material I include in my books, and ask me why I have to wallow in filth as much as I do. I'm always bemused by this, as I doubt they have any idea how the books are perceived in this area by the general fantasy reading world...


    Does this mean that Wayne and MeLaan's fling is "a plot point [you] consider relevant"?

    Calling it right now, Wayne's... intimate... knowledge of Kandra biology will be a point on which the fate of the entire cosmere hinges. Because why wouldn't it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The plot point isn't exactly what you think it is, but yes.

    One of Wayne's roles is that of a character who points out absurdity, either through word or action. There is a certain level of absurdity in what I described up above, and I realize that. Some things I talk about explicitly in books, some things I don't.

    On a certain level, Wayne showing that people do--yes indeed--actually have (and talk about) sex in Sanderson books is there for the same reason that a court jester could mock the king. When as a writer you notice you're doing something consistently, even if you decide you like the thing that you're doing, I feel it's a good idea to add a contrast somewhere in the stories.

    It's one of the reasons that Hoid, though a very different kind of character from Wayne, has more leeway in what he says in Stormlight.


    I know this was a few months ago, but I have a follow up question (huge fan of your work btw!): Do you purposely mention characters having sex to show that they are maybe not "good guys"/"bad guys" are mentioned having sex as a continuation of their lowered morals? Like OP mentioned with rape, of course that would be a sign that someone is a terrible person, but I can think of several other instances in your books were someone engages in consensual sex who later turns out to be more morally loose.

    ETA: I mean premarital sex

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't personally consider this to be a sign of who is good or bad, but I can't speak for how the morals that shape my own society might affect my unconscious application of morals in my books. That's certainly something for critics to analyze, not for me to speak on.

    If it's relevant, though, I don't perceive it this way. More, the people I mention engaging in premarital sex are ones more likely to reject societal mores. (Such as MeLaan.) I also am more likely to do it for characters who are not primary viewpoint characters, for reasons I've mentioned--the ability to allow plausible deniability for readers who wish to view the characters in a certain way. I can see myself unconsciously letting myself say more about villains for a similar reason, though I don't intend it to be causal.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #7130 Copy


    Hi guys, this might bore some (most) of you but this is my take on why the plants on Scadrial were turned brown after the Lord Ruler's Ascension.

    So basically, heres a bit of plant biology:

    Plants absorb light during the first phase of photosynthesis , converting specific waves lengths into high energy electrons, which are then used to create NADPH, ATP and Oxygen. Some of these molecules are then used in the second phase to make carbon molecules, which we break down into energy.

    However, only specific light waves are used by plants, namely the red, blue, purple and to a lesser degree yellow waves. The green light waves are not absorbed and are actually reflected - the reason why chloroplasts and plant cells containing chloroplasts are in our eyes, green.

    Because of the ash in the sky, plants were not able to get enough light, and thus were unable to survive. To combat this, the Lord Ruler altered many plants to have a new pigment (say chlorophyll-C) which allowed them to absorb green light waves and therefore get more energy - stopping them from dying.

    Thus, green light was no longer reflected by plants and they were brown instead (probably because light absorption isn't 100% effective and so the small resulting meld of colours looked brown to the people of Scadrial - like how paint eventually just turns brown when you mix too many different colours).

    Although this makes sense to me, I'm sure I've overlooked something, and I'm not sure why this would result in plants that were less nutritious to man kind. Maybe because of the ash? I'm pretty sure that at some point Sazed mentions that the plants help breakdown the ash so maybe this made them less nutritious?

    But yeah, there you go, the science behind the brown plants on Scadrial!

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is actually pretty close to correct. The plats are not actually "sickly" or unhealthy. I basically looked at plants like red sea weed and some ornamental plants and asked about how they got energy--and came to many of the same conclusions that /u/neverbeenspotted has come to.


    Seems like a smart worldhopper could hybridize pre-final empire plants, final-empire plants, and post-final empire plants in various ratios, and be able to market crops adapted to a very wide range of environments. Anything like that going on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Things like this are more "Space era cosmere" than it is current era.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    I was thinking about how Shardblades are essentially invested swords. Now, the investiture' source does not necessarily have to come from Roshar, as we have seen with Nightblood, which is a sword invested with Endowment's investiture.

    So I was wondering if, say, a feruchemist decided store a LOT of investiture into a large block of nicrosil and fashioned a sword out of it, or at least made part of the blade out of it, would this essentially act as a Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO! (Did you expect anything different on this one?) :)

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
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    For Brandon, any ETA for Nightblood? Would love to know more about how that thing ended up with Szeth.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm working on my State of the Sanderson blog post for this year, which will cover most of these things. But...don't hold your breath. That one's pretty low on the list, I'm afraid. I need to do the Elantris sequels first, as they're far more cosmere relevant.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
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    Would you see the word 'realmatic' as a term you've coined that you want to see proliferate, or a concept specific to your stories that you have dominion over?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It could of course be used by anyone, but I don't really intend for it to proliferate. It's more a word I devised to explain the theories of cosmere magic, and which I intended to remain there.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
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    Can you tell us about the progress for White Sand, a kit of people are looking forward to it, and I know I am.

    Brandon Sanderson

    For those who don't know, White Sand is the book I wrote right after Elantris. I wasn't satisfied with it, and never sold it. Dynamite Comics asked if maybe we could do a graphic novel, and I felt that in creating a graphic novel script, we could fix the problems I had with the story. So I said yes.

    Working on the graphic novel with Dynamite has been one of the best experiences I've had with a licensed product. They have been quick to listen, have given us a great deal of leeway with asking for revisions of both art and text, and have hired people we really like to work on the project. The end result is a comic I'm very proud of, and happy to have as the canon version of White Sand. (Which is relevant to the cosmere.)

    The plan is to do three graphic novels, of six "Issues" each. We've basically finished the first six issues, and plan for a summer release next year. We should be showing off some of the pages on my blog this month. (I hope.)


    I loved White Sand. I'm actually reading it for a second time now while I wait for Bands of Mourning. Is the graphic novel going to differ much from the novel? Anything you're willing to give away?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmm... We overhauled one major character (not Kenton or Khriss) to give more complex motivations, and in doing so, changed them from male to female.

    It will basically be the same plot, though streamlined, with a few structural changes and a little more depth of characterization.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #7139 Copy


    Last I heard you planned one more Mistborn series set in a sorta sci-fi setting in the future. However, I've heard from a couple people that you might be writing a fourth trilogy? I'm curious if that is true and what setting that would take place in?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The fourth trilogy is the SF one. The Wax and Wayne books are confusing people. 1: Classic epic fantasy.

    2: Wax and Wayne western eara.

    3: 1980's Spy Thriller

    4: Space Opera.

    It's possible I'll slot something between Spy Thriller and Space Opera. I've started to think I should officially name Wax and Wayne "Era 1.5" to end this confusion.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
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    Hey guys, how many drafts do you go through before you start showing to other people? What sort of workshopping do your books go through as you work on them? Do you have Alpha and Beta readers etc. or do you keep your groups smaller?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Drafting process: 1st draft: Rough Draft. (Written straight through, often ignoring big problems or changing characters mid-stride to get them down.)

    2nd draft: Fix all the big problems from first draft.

    3rd draft: First polish.

    --Send book to Writing Group and Alpha Readers, including my Agent/Editor---

    4th draft: Major revisions. Editorial comments.

    5th draft: Medium revisions. Writing group comments.

    --Send Book to Beta Reads.---

    6th draft: Last chance at larger revisions.

    7th draft: Copyedit (my assistant does this one.)

    That's an ideal world. Sometimes it's condensed. Though on the Wheel of Time books, I ended up doing 12 or 13 drafts.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
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    You all write such engaging and original pieces; do you ever get really frustrated by how uninteresting or underdeveloped stories/worlds are in other forms of media? I see movies and especially video games all of the time that make me think "this had so much potential - I really wish the writers had skills and creativity of some of my favorite fantasy authors."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, this does happen to me. I watch a film, or play a game, and say, "Oh, man. If they'd just given me this script, this would have been SO EASY to fix!" Then, when video games contact me and ask for help, I realize I don't have the time to actually help them. (Except in a few cases.) I famously even had to say no to Notch when he wrote me and asked if I'd write something for minecraft. (I probably should have done that one, but was tight on deadlines at the time.)

    That's the big dichotomy here. We all (including many video game designers) get into this because we want to tell great stories. And when our stories have flaws, they are still OURS. I respect that many of these designers would rather tell their story, even with a few warts, than outsource it. I'd rather do the same thing, in most cases. And so while I sometimes think, "Wow, it would be SO COOL to write a Hawkeye book" when Marvel asked me to do something for them (with a blanket "Anything with any character in the Marvel universe you want) I had to say no because it would have meant delaying Stormlight 3.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
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    Are we ever going to find out more about Tarah, the woman Kaladin was involved with somehow during his time in Amaram's army? I'm curious about what sort of woman could manage to pull Kaladin out of his depression and obsessive training in the spear after Tien's death...

    Brandon Sanderson


    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #7143 Copy


    You've said before that Kelsier hung around in the Cognitive Realm after dying and continued to interfere with events going on in Scadrial - talking to Spook, using Preservation's power, etc. You've even implied that Kelsier is STILL hanging around and meddling in the Wax & Wayne era. So my question is - did he CHOOSE to stay in the Cognitive Realm instead of passing on? Or is something forcing him to stay there? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    This will be revealed before too much longer. I've been keeping it under my hat for a long time.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    I see all these titles, and I have no idea what you're talking about. Can you elaborate, please?

    Brandon Sanderson

    White sand and the Aether of Night are two good, but flawed, books I wrote during my unpublished days that I still consider at least partially cosmere canon. (White Sand more than Aether, at this point.) They're good enough to read, but I don't feel they're good enough to charge money for, so I send them to anyone who who sends an email through my website and asks.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    Soooo, hope you don't mind, but not long ago I finished reading The Aether of Night and the White Sand ... books.

    And I've seen that Dragonsteel exists, but there are only 5 copies and they're all in the Harold B Lee Library at Brigham Young University.

    Is it possible to get a copy to read the same way we can get the first two I mentioned?

    Sorry to bother you. Can't wait til January though.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't send it out yet. Maybe once I've gotten far enough in the cosmere that certain things in it are not spoilers. But the book, now that Bridge Four is gone (they used to be in that one) really doesn't have much to recommend it, unlike the others.

    Maybe I'll change my mind some day. For now, I don't send it out. (Sorry.)

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #7147 Copy


    So is Harmony as excited for the space Mistborn as we are?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will have four trilogies now. (Though part of me thinks I might need another interim cyberpunkish one between 1980's and full Space Opera.) Right now, though, I have four eras planned.

    As for your original question, Harmony is excited, but also worried, perhaps in equal measure.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #7148 Copy


    Brandon Sanderson provides an unintended lesson about being careful with pronouns

    "All right, people," Elend said, folding his arms. "We need options. Kelsier recruited you because you could do the impossible. Well, our predicament is pretty impossible."

    "He didn't recruit me," Cett pointed out. "I got pulled by my balls into this little fiasco."

    "I wish I cared enough to apologize," Elend said, staring at them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This one was unintentional. Gotta watch those pronouns!

    In the original draft of one of the books, I had Elend talking about the difference between him and Vin, referencing his time going to parties in noble society. He mentioned he was a man of "Magnificent Balls."

    I caught that one, fortunately.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #7149 Copy


    How the heck do regular people on Roshar tell the difference between Ruby and Garnet spheres??

    So. Really. If you hand be a Ruby and a Garnet... I guess I could guess at which was which. But if you just handed me a red gemstone and said "that's a ruby, so I'll need change back" I'm not really sure I could.

    But imagine being a busy merchant. That's just too much of a real chance at error.

    I'm sure the stormlight is a different color, but still, it's gotta be close.

    I'm sure there are experts that can easily tell these things. But I'm talking about regular people, since this is a currency after all.

    Is there any theory on this at all?


    I assume that the stormlight-holding garnets are violet rather than pure red.

    But what if I infused this guy with stormlight? The color keeps changing!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll write something up about this eventually. The hue is more important than the actual crystalline structure on Roshar.