Recent entries

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7104 Copy

    Questioner

    Did a lot of the life on land from Roshar come from the sea? Because they all have shells. Or is that just the highstorm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s just the highstorms. Good question actually.  I mean I would say that evolutionary, certain traits that vanished on Earth did not vanish on Roshar because of the highstorms. But also things evolved independently similar attributes because of the storms. So it's a yes and a no.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7108 Copy

    Questioner

    Are we going to find out if the earring gives him [Wax] any other Hemalurgic powers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean, I might eventually dig into it a bit. The thing is, it's so weak that--

    Questioner

    It's probably not--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah... I assume that people are thinking this is a gun on the mantle, so I will have to deal with it.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7109 Copy

    Questioner

    My theory currently on Spiritwebs is that they are-- when they exist on the Spiritual Realm a person exists as nodes connected between concepts, Physical makeup, and whatnot, that’s what makes up your Spiritual DNA.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mmhmm.

    Questioner

    Is there a different set of nodes for each person or do they all kind of share?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're kind of imagining it the wrong way, each person is a node.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7112 Copy

    Questioner

    My question is, I think it was probably in the chapter annotations for the original Mistborn trilogy. You brought up that all of the events thus far were in the north pole of Scadrial--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep, they were.

    Questioner

    So where there events going on at the same time in the south pole?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there were.

    Questioner

    And will we be seeing those in the next trilogy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will find out about them eventually. By the time we hit the 1980's level technology the world will be a little more explored.

    Questioner

    So that will be like-- You are still planning on the three--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm now planning on four because this [Era 2] has turned into a sequence.

    Questioner

    This has turned into a trilogy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah... So you will find this stuff out eventually. And you have already seen people from Southern Scadrial before... At least one..

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7113 Copy

    Questioner

    Nightblood. He just showed up at the end of The Stormlight Archive--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    --the last one. So, is there a place that's a connection between all of the universes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is.

    Questioner

    And it's been reached in The Stormlight Archive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so I'm guessing you don't know about all of this but there are characters from Elantris that are in Mistborn--

    Questioner

    Yes. Like Hoid.

    Brandon Sanderson

    --and all of this stuff. I would say one of the things is that Roshar is a little bit easier to get to than some of the others, but it's not that it has been breached there so much as it's a little bit easier to get to.

    Questioner

    Yes, I'm assuming it has something to do with the Cognitive Realm but then objects going through the Cognitive Realm is kind of tripping me.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hehe… *long pause* There are places in the Cognitive Realm that are somewhat nexus-like, like you're talking about. Yes there are places like that. ...So Roshar might actually be the easiest place to get to in the cosmere, like from planet to planet. Sel is probably the hardest, right now. For a long time Taldain was very hard, but not anymore.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7115 Copy

    Questioner

    [Spren] are used to Invest a lot of things, fabrials, they turn into Shardblades. Are we ever going to see something similar with the seons, from Sel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, they are basically the same thing. They're a little more formalized, a little more structured but they are basically the exact same thing so yes. Some of the things you see spren doing seons are capable of, some things that seons do spren will be capable of.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #7116 Copy

    Macen

    You've pretty much implied yes [to bonding more than one spren].

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did not say yes.

    Questioner

    You implied.  <What about> more than one type of spren?  Different types of spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's see what happens.  This is not impossible.  

    Footnote: Brandon has also stated humans can theoretically bond multiple spren (http://wob.coppermind.net/events/156/#e2841).
    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #7119 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, they can't help but be.  I remember sitting out on my porch as a kid, the storms blowing the other direction so it didn't get me, and just swinging on the porch swing watching the storm.  Those are the storms I know, so I would say when I'm describing them I'm thinking that.  But the original inspiration was the storm of Jupiter, the constant storm, and granted as a gas giant it is very different.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #7123 Copy

    Questioner

    So in the first book, there's a chapter where you have some scientists talking about spren, and they seem to be describing <superposition> and science.  I was wondering, does that actually play into the books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does, but it's just really behind the scenes.  This is just helping you understand the nature of spren and kind of their relationship to sub-atomic particles and quantum theory and things like this.  There are relationships there, but it's even one or two steps further than what you see in actual Quantum Physics, Right?  

    Questioner

    Will it play in more?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will.  In this book, you get even a discussion of the theory on spren that should relate right back to that.

    Questioner

    Oh good!  I can't wait.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Watch for stuff that Jasnah says about Spren and things like this.  It does relate.  But this is all kind of world-building stuff.  It's not part of the main story.  It's fun for scientists.  

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #7124 Copy

    Questioner

    So do you know quite a bit about what the end of the <Stormlight series> is going to be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do.  I do indeed.  I've actually written the epilogue of Book 5.  

    Questioner

    Oh yeah?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Just to get into my head.  I wrote it out.  Peter, my assistant, sent an explanation point after he saw that appear in the Wiki and stuff.  So yes.  And actually the ending of the entire series of the ten books is somewhere in those two books, just like with Mistborn it was in the first page.  It's not on the first page but it is in those two books.  

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #7125 Copy

    Questioner

    Are there any actors that you would love to see in an adaptation of your work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow, excellent. Are there any actors I would love to see in an adaptation of my work? Wow, you know, you toy with this in your head, but I usually only do it after I've written the book because-- and then it's kind of hard because I'm like this character is the person in my head, not a specific actor. But we've had to start doing it, where people come when they're making the films and they're like "Who do you see in this role", or something like this. And so I have come up with some of these things. For instance, the guys who have Mistborn keep talking about Sazed, and they kind of want to go Asian with Sazed, which I think would work just fine for the Terris, and they keep using Chow Yun Fat as someone they would look at. Which would be pretty cool. 

    Legion I wrote with a few actors in mind, one of the few books I've done that, so if you've read that I actually cast Ivy, JC, and Tobias as three actors I like. You should read it and see if you can figure out who those three are, because I've said online and you can read that and say "I wonder", and then you just google it and they'll all be there. One of them is from Firefly, so-- I'll give you a hint, this character's initials have been the same in like five or six different movies, and they're the same initials I use for the character and the fact that he's playing a character with the same initials, and so I use those initials. But for the most part I don't really think on this too much, because you spend a lot of time thinking about it, like when someone first bought Mistborn I was like "Ooh who do we get to play Vin"? And now all those actors, they're all like ten years older than being able to play Vin now, so it's like what was the point in doing all that. So I'm just going to let something actually get to casting, and then hopefully they'll invite me in and I can give my feedback.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #7126 Copy

    Questioner

    I have a question on when you use terminology because you use a lot of regular terms. If you've read Warbreaker, Breath specifically. So as a working writer, before ever reading Brandon Sanderson's novel, I might have come up with the Breath myself. So the question being, have you ever had that, where you work working on something and then read another book and found out they were using either a similar term or something--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah it's happened a bunch. Have I been writing a book when someone came up with a similar term? Janny Wurts wrote a book about someone called the mistwraith. There is a book called, like, The Curse of the Darkeyes, or something like that. It's hard to do something where someone hasn't used any of the terms before. Like trying to do the Steelheart books, which use superhero mythology, try and find a name for any superhero that DC or Marvel haven't had, it's like basically impossible. So I had to be like alright, ones that no one has heard of, that only appeared in one issue, if I come up with a cool name and they've used it once in like one issue, I can still use it. You just have to not let that get to you. Make the story your own through good writing and good storytelling, and no one's going to look at it and be like "Ohh this is a rip-off". And if your beta readers all say "Oh this is a rip-off", then maybe you change it, but they probably won't. That's my advice to you. Don't stress that one too much. Work on making your story great and don't worry too much if it is what someone else has done. 

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #7127 Copy

    Questioner

    Why did it take you so long to write the fifth Alcatraz book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Why did it take me so long to write the fifth Alcatraz book... So, the Alcatraz books, the problem was I had this weird relationship with Scholastic, who was publishing them, where they didn't want to keep publishing them, but they didn't want to sell them back to me either. And it was really weird, because I was like "If you don't want to keep publishing them, why not like let us take them back and sell them to someone else?", and they were like "ehhh", so we had to convince them to sell them back to me, and I actually had to pay them a bunch of money to get the rights back, to bring them to another publisher, and that deal required that we couldn't sell any Alcatraz books until January of this upcoming year [2016]. And so the reason I couldn't do that fifth book is because of that contract. I let them sell off the remaining books that they had so that we're rereleasing them starting in January, the first four again, and then the fifth one. We didn't want to do the fifth one until the first four could come out, so people could buy them. So that's the reason!

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #7128 Copy

    Questioner

    So there's a popular theory on the internet--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh no--

    Questioner

    --that Brandon Sanderson is actually a robot, or a collection of robots. So they've never actually heard you dispute this. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right right right, well, the thing is-- the way we were programmed doesn't let us lie. So this is a problem for disputing it. So I'll just say "No comment".

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #7129 Copy

    Questioner

    The fight scenes in the Mistborn novels are incredibly visual. How do you write that, do you have to diagram it out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, how do I write the visual fight scenes from something like Mistborn? Actually, you do a lot of research by watching Jackie Chan films, *laughter* but really what you're doing is actually, at least the way I approach it, you can do whatever works for you, but the way I do it is I actually approach what I want the emotional and mental beats to be in the scene and I build the scene around that. What is someone going to realize? What is someone going to feel? What is someone going to connect? How are they going to bring these things together? And then I use those to construct the scene so that even if someone is not following it, or is not as interested in the action, they'll get the emotional parts, and have these focuses for themselves. And I just construct the action around that. And often in the first draft, it's actually pretty rough. One of the biggest things I have to do in second drafts and third drafts is fix blocking for these battle sequences, which is where everyone's moving, because I'm working on the emotional beats first. And I feel like that's the way to go for me. I can construct a really awesome looking fight scene but the problem is you can't do a Jackie Chan thing in a book, like he punched him, he punched him really fast, this other person punched her twice as fast but then she kicked him twice. It's just boring right, and even the blow by blows, when they get exciting, kind of feel boring sometimes. But if you've got those emotional and mental things connecting, and pulling the reader through the story, then it's going to work better.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #7130 Copy

    Questioner

    Any more information on like the efforts to go to the movies--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh the movies stuff--

    Questioner

    --or television or even maybe animated?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Television or things like this. So for those who don't know, what we do with Hollywood is they come and they option our books. This is where they give us some money not to sell the books to anyone else while they try to get things together to make a film, and most of the time it doesn't pan out. Sometimes it does, but making a film takes a lot of effort, takes a lot of time, so they want to make sure that they've got the rights looked-up while they do that. So it's basically like renting the rights, but it's a rent-to-own, because eventually they have a buy-out price they have to pay, but all the rental payments kind of apply to that. And I have had things for option since 2006 I think, and nothing's ever gotten made, and right now I have under option Mistborn, I have Emperor's Soul, I have Stormlight, I have Steelheart, and Legion just lapsed, so if somebody wants that, let me know. And all of those are in various stages of production, I've chosen production companies that I feel good about, and so I feel good about all of them, but I don't know what the chances are, right.

    The most recent one was Steelheart, with Shawn Levy's company, he did Real Steel, that's what convinced me, it's a Richard Matheson story that he adapted. He also did the Night at the Museum films. And they've been really cool, they invited me in, I got to tour Fox Studios, and they're working on a screenplay, I'm hoping that will turn out well but I have really no power to make Hollywood do stuff. Nobody really does, even the people there, I think they're all kind of confused by how it sometimes works out. So I would do animated if the right project came along, and someone offered me, and I thought it looked good. I'm not opposed to that. I'm not opposed to TV. We just have to see who comes to me.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #7131 Copy

    Questioner

    After reading your entire bookology--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Bookology, I like that.

    Questioner

    It got to the point where I was running out of books so I went on your website and found your recommended reads and after talking to some other authors I found some other connections to you, David Farland, Brian McClellan. Is there anyone else you would recommend down the same track?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ok, authors I would recommend-- I'm going to go in a couple of different directions because not everyone might like the same sorts of things. I'm going to tell you what I've been reading lately. Brian McClellan's very good, and Brian McClellan was one of my students but I can't really take credit for Brian because he was really good when he came to class in the first place. Brian's books, if you haven't read them, Promise of Blood is the start. They are flintlock fantasies and they kind of combine a little bit of hard fantasy magic, like I do, and a little bit of the kind of grimdark grittiness and kind of combine them together into this cool mix. So the magic isn't quite as hard as the magic I do, meaning quite as rule-based, but the grimdark isn't quite as grim as the grimdark tends to go. The mix works really well.

    I read Naomi Novik's new book, Uprooted, which is really good if you haven't read it. It's kind of like a dark fairytale YA but really twisted, so it's not intended for a teen audience because it is pretty twisted, but it's like how the fairytales really were, it's that sort of thing, it's really cool, it's very well written. Let's see-- I'm currently reading Dan's new book, that's not out yet. But I Am Not a Serial Killer. If you haven't read Dan's books they are great and they are creepy. It's about a teenage sociopath who hunts demons, to get that whole "I'm a sociopath and kind of want to kill people". Not that all sociopaths want to, but he does. And getting it out of his system is going and killing demons. 

    Let's see, what else have I really loved. I like Robin Hobb's books a lot, if you haven't read Robin Hobb. Brent Weeks, a very similar writer to me. Brent Weeks, The Black Prism. It seems like Brent and I must have read the same books, a lot of the, growing up, and have the same-- because we both kind of independently started doing this kind of epic fantasy rule-based wacky magic kind of thing right about the same time. I really really like NK Jemisin, Nora Jemisin, her books are very literary so if you're not on the literary side of fantasy-- but the new one is fantasic, it's written in the second person, at least one of the viewpoints is. It's like the only book I've ever read in second person that works. And some of my classic favorites are A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge, it's very Dune-like, in that it's a science fiction that blends the best parts of epic fantasy together with it, and if you haven't read that and you like Dune, you'll probably like A Fire Upon the Deep. There we go.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #7132 Copy

    Questioner

    How many scripts did you write and submit before you got Elantris picked up?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How many scripts did I write and send out before I got Elantris picked up? So novel-length things, Elantris was my sixth. It sold while I was writing my thirteenth, which was The Way of Kings. You shouldn't have to do that, I was really bad when I started. The other thing is I was not good at revising, and I sometimes wouldn't even send books out, because I was like "I can learn do that better, I'll just write another book", which was the wrong attitude to have but it ended up working out for me so I don't know that I'd change anything! I did collect rejections but really-- My first five books were very experimental. Someone told me your first five books are usually terrible, which is not necessarily true but it was the right advice for me. I sat down and I wrote five.

    My first one was an epic fantasy, because I was pretty sure that's what I love. My second one was a space opera. My third one was a sequel to that epic fantasy. Then my fourth one was a comedy, like a Bob Asprin-style fantasy farce. And then there was a cyberpunk. And then there was Elantris. I wrote those five, and after I sat down and wrote those five and said, "ok, epic fantasy's what I love, I'm gonna go with that." That's when the idea of the Cosmere started going for me, and I sat down and I wrote Elantris, a book called Dragonsteel which is kind of Hoid's origin story, and a book called White Sand which we're currently making into a graphic novel. Those three books I got the best feedback on when I was submitting them and that's when I really started to push it, in getting it published. So you can imagine that what I did is I practiced for a while, I wrote a book that I thought was pretty good and during the three years it took to sell that, I ended up writing some more, because I do that. 

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #7133 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you ever plan on writing something akin to Silmarillion for the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do I every plan to write something like the Silmarillion for the cosmere? Hehe. No I have no specific plans right now. I've read the Silmarillion-- Wow, he was a genius, but that's where you get to the mad genius stuff, right. Yeah, I have no plans right now to do that. Maybe you'll get me when I'm 70 and I'm like "Ennnhhhh... I must write my own Isaiah, I will do it". 

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7135 Copy

    Mike

    Where are you going with the lunar allegory of Wax and Wayne?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's no moon on Scadrial, and it just cracked me up that they would have these names that were a pun that they wouldn't get. [...] I came up with Wayne's name first and then I needed a name for the straight man he played off of, and the idea of Wax and Wayne amused me. I am easily amused by bad puns, Mike.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7138 Copy

    Questioner

    The Alethkar culture, being competitive and all that. Is that [like a forethought of] capitalism and stuff like that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I wouldn't say that it is specifically. That could be in there in the back of my mind. There were very competitive cultures long before capitalism was around. They would certainly like capitalism, but there are other influences causing this in Alethi culture.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7140 Copy

    Questioner

    Since Vasher is now Zahel to Roshar, is he still immortal?

    Brandon Sanderson

    As long as he has Breath or Investiture to consume, then yes.

    Questioner

    Can he consume Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He can consume Stormlight.

    Questioner

    Does Zahel gain abilities from the Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7144 Copy

    Questioner

    Are Cognitive elements like spren and seons only present on physical planes or worlds where Shards have been [Splintered]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. But it does require <Cognitive *inaudible*>. Alternately the Shard would have to give up pieces of their power for that. But it doesn't have to be that they were [Splintered] by someone. Seons existed on, sorry, spren existed on Roshar before the Shattering. Not as many.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7148 Copy

    Questioner

    [In Forging], if you rewrite the history of an item, and it took effect permanently, would there ever be a potential to have a butterfly effect, out beyond the history of the item, that might directly affect something somewhere else in the world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would be very very hard for that to ever happen, because it's like spliced DNA or something like that. It's not real. It's a forgery. Nothing else considers it, that it did that. The only tricky bit would be if you have children, and you've rewritten yourself in an interesting way that’s actually changed your DNA, that... might have ramifications.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7150 Copy

    Questioner

    [Does] the expansion of Jaddeth’s empire have more to do with greed and hunger for power, or the innate nature of Dominion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Both. I would say both. The innate nature of Dominion probably caused the greed and hunger for power.

    Questioner

    What would you say percentage-wise?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, one caused the other. It definitely started with Dominion. The Skaze are pretty thirsty for power.