Recent entries

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7453 Copy

    Questioner 1

    Does Wit go to-- uh... what's that one place in The Way of Kings... The one place they go to, aft... The end of the book. Uh, I can't remember it now. *someone suggests something* The city they go to at the very end.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Of Way of Kings?

    Questioner 1

    Not Way of Kings, uh...

    Questioner 2

    Words of Radiance.

    Questioner 1

    Words of Radiance, yes. Does Wit go there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Radiance. Urithiru?

    Questioner 1

    Urithiru! Does Wit go to Urithiru?

    Brandon Sanderson

    By the time that a certain somebody at the end shows up there. Wit is no longer with her, and nobody knows where he went.

    Questioner 3

    Oh, he disappeared again! *others comment*

    Brandon Sanderson

    He tends to do that. What's that? So Wit has been lost. He will show up at some point in the book... But yes, he will at least have the Epilogue.

    Footnote: The book Brandon is referring to at the end is Oathbringer.
    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7454 Copy

    Questioner 1

    What's your stance on fanfiction?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I approve of fanfiction. *brief interruption* I think that there are many pros in the field who started in fanfiction, so it can be a springboard to professional writing. Most painters don't start by-- with their own style. They start by imitating a style. I also take the oppos-- the other stance of, if you just do it because it's fun, there's nothing wrong with that either. I'm unlikely to read the fanfiction set in my worlds, but it is also perfectly okay to do.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7455 Copy

    Questioner

    Couldn't think of any [questions], but I would just like to say that I would like to punch Kelsier in the face now, so... *group laughs*

    Brandon Sanderson

    He usually deserves getting punched in the face. *group laughs* If you were to meet Kelsier on the street, you can guess he has something that he's done that makes him deserve to be punched that day. *group laughs*

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7456 Copy

    Questioner

    *reading a question from a friend* He asks you, "How a dead Splinter [Sliver] can interact with the physical world," and the follow up, "What could they do?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    A dead Splinter... So something like a dead...

    Questioner

    Someone who's held the power and let go of it, so someone like... someone like...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Someone like the Lord Ruler.

    Questioner

    Yeah, Lord Ruler or Vin or <someone like that>.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so... How could they interact with the world?

    Questioner

    Yeah, the physical world.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So they would have some of the same problems that Kelsier had. But would have slightly more advantages than him. So for instance, speaking to the mad is something they could probably do. 

    Questioner

    Because Kelsier can't do that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What's that?

    Questioner

    Because Kelsier can't?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He can't?

    Questioner

    He can?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, in Secret History he's able to speak to them. He has a lot of trouble getting through, but he can. So yeah. So I-- read Secret History and... *stutters* <a bunch> of the same answers. But they would be slightly more Invested than Kelsier was... No, but then he... yeah... They'd be about roughly the same.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7457 Copy

    Questioner

    Does Odium actually present a real threat to Harmony, because he-- *interrupted*

    Brandon Sanderson

    So Harmony is vastly more powerful than Odium.

    Questioner

    Yeah. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Elend was vastly more powerful than Vin. Who would win in a fight?

    Questioner

    Vin.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, there's your answer.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7458 Copy

    Questioner 1

    You know how in, uh... the God King was engaged to Siri?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner 1

    And she went to his room few times?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner 1

    Will there be something like that in the second book? Or will you be avoiding that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be a romance in the next book between different characters. Slightly different. The outline right now it's-- the romance is a married couple who, for political purposes act like they hate each other.

    Questioner 1

    Okay.

    Questioner 2

    *laughs* That's awesome.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But yes.

    Questioner 1

    But what I mean is there will be any-- like-- there won't be anything, like, prostrating or whatever...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably not... Um, I mean...

    Questioner 1

    Because if you avoid it I'll love to read the book. *laughs* I had a hard time recommending Warbreaker to others because of that. I mean, it's not a big criticism or anything, it's just more uncomfortable.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I understand that completely. It was a book about a wedding night. And I felt there were certain things that were appropriate for that book that may not have been appropriate for others.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7459 Copy

    Questioner 1

    So the orb thing in a Secret History, that he breaks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, mhm.

    Questioner 1

    How does that work? Like is it-- is Connection a Shard and it has the essence of Connection in it? Or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *sighs* It is more complicated than that.

    Questioner 1

    Okay.

    Questioner 2

    <In> email then. *questioners laugh*

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO, without being a RAFO.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7460 Copy

    Questioner

    In Memory of Light, how Lan didn't die.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    And you were surprised that fewer people were discussing how you could interpret Rand's actions as bending the Pattern to make it that he did not die.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    And I'm trying to-- You mentioned that there were certain real world homages that you were trying to make because of this...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    I couldn't remember what those were.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, Lazarus.

    Questioner

    Well, okay. But like something like with K-- like King Arthur or something like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's-- yes, there are... *interrupted*

    Questioner

    But I don't remember what that was.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are... the Fisher King.

    Questioner

    Fisher King?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, Google the Fisher King if you want to read about that. There's a lot of him... I mean, there's also Hindu and Muslim symbolism that I cribbed from, so to speak. The thing about Lan is I... if you press me, I would probably say he didn't die. But the parallelism of Rand in book 3 trying to raise from the dead and not being able to, and Rand in the last book with him there--

    Questioner

    This man *inaudible*.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Um, you can make the argument that, and you know, we'll never know if he did or didn't. I think it is... I made it intentionally ambiguous. Brandon the reader, you press me, I'll say, "Eh, he probably didn't." But there is parallelism there, and it is intentional.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7462 Copy

    Questioner 1

    We asked about Bloody Tan. He burned... What is it that he <stole>?

    Questioner 2

    Bandalloy.

    Questioner 1

    Bendalloy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So... "Does he burn bendalloy?" is your question? 

    Questioner 1

    Mhm.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um... So... Which version of Bloody Tan?

    Questioner 1

    Oh!

    Questioner 2

    The non-Paalm version.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Questioner 2

    Alloy of Law version.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so the... Right... Okay, see, I have to kind of ask. He is not burning bendalloy any place you see, I don't believe. Why do you ask if he burns bendalloy?

    Questioner 2

    He mentions that he stole or was involved in steeling a shipment of bendalloy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. He steals this because it's worth money. I did-- *interrupted*

    Questioner 1

    Oh, and he's-- wait, which one is-- Is that what makes you fast?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that's the one that-- *interrupted*

    Questioner 1

    And that he moves Lessie so fast.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but then a time bubble would have to be used in that, and-- Oh, you mean for... No, yeah, then a time bubble would be involved and the whole bullet thing wouldn't work. He's not using the time bubble there. 

    Questioner 1

    Okay, that makes sense.

    Brandon Sanderson

    'Cause if he put up a time bubble he would be moving super fast. But Wax would have known that a time bubble was-- had been thrown up. So good question, but no. I don't believe... Yeah, he wasn't an Allomancer. He stole that because it's money. I can say that with 100% surety. I just have to look through and make sure, "Okay, I'm not-- I didn't do anything in the notes."

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7463 Copy

    Questioner

    Has Hoid ever submitted a painting to the Court of Gods?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid has... potentially submitted a painting. *group laughs* That's something he would do. But I have to say that as, "Brandon says that's something he would do. And 'sure.'" But that's not out of the notes or anything.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7464 Copy

    Questioner

    So the paintings that Lightsong reacted to...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    Who painted those? Anyone in particular, or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are important in the scheme of that book, yes.

    Questioner

    Oh, anyone mentioned in that book? Anyone we know.

    Oh, one of the paintings is important. Not all of them, but one of them.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #7466 Copy

    Questioner

    In the Graphic Audio books... Obviously they had to change things, and when Vasher wake-- or puts the rest of the Breath into the rope he uses a different Command. He says, "My breath to give for life to live." Is that that canon, or is that just...

    Brandon Sanderson

    So here's the thing... You have to be ver--...

    Questioner

    I mean, I know he's got to...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah...

    Questioner

    ...You know, he has to be careful with his Commands so he doesn't give away his Divine Breath. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    I'm just wondered if that's the...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that's canon.

    Questioner

    Canon. 'Cause it's not in the regular book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But it's not in the regular book. I'm gonna have to go back and look, but I think that's canon.

    Questioner

    Okay, cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Pretty sure. So yeah, you have to be really careful when you've got a Divine Breath, what you're doing. *interruption* I'm gonna have to go to Isaac and Peter to make sure that that's the canon thing. That they got that from us. But for now you can pretend that it is.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7467 Copy

    little_wilson

    What's the earliest that we'll be seeing more of Scribbler (I'd heard a bunch about it at TWG, and so I found the sample chapters on your site and now I'm REALLY wanting more of it, so I'd like to know when I should start looking again...)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sigh. I really want to do something with Scribbler, but I can't justify it right now. I'm doing the fourth Alcatraz because I can't put it off any longer because of contracts, and Kings because Tor really wants a solo Brandon book next year. But I can't justify working too much on a project that hasn't been sold and which—if published—would end up pulling me into another side trilogy. I have to leave the WoT with the space it needs and deserves. Until it is completed, I have to shelve side projects. That, unfortunately, includes Scribbler. For now.

    There are some things in the works with it, and I'm very excited about the possibilities. But there's nothing tangible I can give you now. It's coming. Maybe sooner than I've made it sound, but best to be careful as nothing is set yet.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7470 Copy

    Jeremy_Carroll

    Can you give any history on Denth? I don't know what he did as one of the Five Scholars. What was his roll during the Manywar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy, you know, I'd rather leave the history of the Five and the Manywar for the sequel. Denth was there, and at first he tried to stop it, work as a peacemaker, and eventually took Vasher's side. Until the death of his sister.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7471 Copy

    Jeremy_Carroll

    How could Vasher become Drab, since he would have to give up his Big Breath to do so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Divine Breath can be hid. Essentially, you have to view yourself NOT as a god at all, using a very specific bit of mental gymnastics. As a Returned, your body changes based on how you see yourself. (This, by the way, is an indication that Lightsong was more pleased with himself than he ever let on.)

    You don't lose your Divine Breath, but it does go into hiding, making you look like a normal person. But you're still Returned, and are consuming a Breath at one a week. If you give away your other Breaths, you retain this hidden one, but your body will still consume its own spirit if left to do so. So you still need a Breath a week to survive, and will die the week you don't get one.

    I left this as an intentional place to explore the magic in the sequel, which I had planned to be writing (and posting on my website) by the time Warbreaker was out in stores. The WoT has diverted me, and so I feel bad, since this ends up being a confusing question that a number of readers have had. The hints toward how this is working are very difficult to find. (The biggest one is probably in the opening, where Vasher thinks about how he could reach the Fifth Heightening instantly, if he wanted to.)

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7474 Copy

    GypsyKylara

    My question is about writing, kind of.

    As an author, you have achieved moderate success. People like you and have heard of you within the genre and you have established a relationship with your publishing company that lets you get a lot of books published.

    This is the level of success I want as a writer and I am just wondering how financially viable this is. Like, can you write only or do you need a so-called day job? Are you able to support your family with your writing alone? That kind of thing.

    Sorry if that is kind of a personal question. I've just always wondered how much money a writer makes once they've "made it".

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had a lot of questions like this myself during my days trying to break in. Everyone told me it wasn't possible to make a living as a writer—that, like an actor or a musician, I'd spend my life poor and obscure.

    One of the big turning points came when I met and talked to a professional writer who had had modest success. Not a huge name, but a person who had done what you hope to do. Publish a book every year, never be a household name, but well-known enough in-genre that a large portion of the readers had seen his books on the shelves, though many still had no idea who he was. (The author was David Farland, by the way.)

    I wish I could give you that same experience, though it's going to be harder while not face to face. The main tone of the meeting and his encouragement was this: IT IS POSSIBLE and YOU CAN DO IT!

    Not everyone can make a living at writing. But it's very within reach, and for the dedicated author willing to practice and learn, it's not as difficult to make a living as many make it out to be.

    I do make a living full time at this, and have for several years now. In the early years, it wasn't what many would call a 'good' income, but it was enough for me. Now, it is an excellent income. Not "Fly to Europe every week" income, but certainly "Take your friends out to eat once in a while" income.

    A standard royalty for an author would be to 10-15% on a hardcover, and around 8% on a paperback. Usually, the percentage gets better the more copies you sell.

    Now, books don't sell the huge numbers that people usually think they do. If you sell 2k hardcover copies in your first week, you can get on the NYT list. (Though it's not certain—it depends on what week it is and what other books came out. 3k is a pretty sure bet, though.)

    Elantris—an obscure, but successful, book—sold about 10k copies in hardcover and around 14k copies its first year in paperback. I've actually sold increasing numbers each year in paperback, as I've become more well-known. But even if you pretend that I didn't, and this is what I'd earn on every book, you can see that for the dedicated writer, this could be viable as an income. About $3 per book hardcover and about $.60 paperback gets us around 39k income off the book. Minus agent fees and self-employment tax, that starts to look rather small. (Just under 30k). But you could live on that, if you had to. (Remember you can live anywhere you want as a writer, so you can pick someplace cheap.)

    I'd consider 30k a year to do what I love an extremely good trade-off. Yes, your friends in computers will be making far more. But you get to be a writer.

    The only caveat here is that I did indeed get very lucky with my placement at Tor. It's the successful hardcover release that makes the above scenario work. If you only had the paperback, and everyone who bought the hardcover bought that instead, you'd have to be selling around 60k copies to make it work. That's very possible, and I know a lot of midlist writers who do it.

    Anyway, numbers shouldn't be what gets you into this business. If you have to tell stories, tell them. To be a writer, I feel you need to have such a love of the process that you'd write those books even if you never sold one. It's not about the money, and really shouldn't be. (And sorry to go on so long. I just feel it important to give aspiring writers the same kinds of help that I got.)

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7475 Copy

    Sensitivemuse

    Also, was there an inspiration for Vin and if so who/what was it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin has been hard for me to pin down, inspiration wise. I tried so many different variations on her character (even writing her character as a boy) that it's hard to pinpoint when I got it right. There was no one single inspiration for her. (Unlike Sarene, who was based on a friend of mine.) She's a mix of my sisters, a good writer friend of mine, and a dozen different other little bits of people.

    The time when I got her character RIGHT was when I wrote the scene that became her first in Mistborn, where she's watching the ash blow in the street, and envies it for its freedom. That, mixed with Kelsier's observation that she isn't a bad person—she just thinks everyone else is—were the big points where her character took form.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7476 Copy

    Sensitivemuse

    Are you going to write more about the Mistborn? There's still those mysterious metals, and it's a brand new world out there now so many possibilities you could do with that!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will, someday, write a follow-up trilogy to Mistborn. It will be set several hundred years after the events of the first trilogy, after technology has caught up to where it should be. Essentially, these will be urban fantasy stories set in the same world. Guns, cars, skyscrapers—and Allomancers.

    That's still pretty far off, though. The other metals are being revealed on the poster I'm releasing of the Allomantic table. Should be for sale on my website sometime soon, though someone here can probably link to the image I posted of it, which has the other metals explained. (I can't remember where exactly that link is right now.)

    Hero of the new trilogy would be a nicrosil Misting.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7477 Copy

    DiamondLightfoot13

    I love Mistborn! (also Elantris). I can hardly wait to begin on Warbreaker. I know many have questions on the metal based ideas. In Elantris, where did the idea for the disease come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Three things. First, some reading I was doing about leper colonies. I wanted to tell a story about someone locked into a similar situation, only tie it to the magic of the world and the history of the city itself.

    Secondly, I had this crazy desire to do a book starring zombies that nobody would realize were zombies. It was one of those things that stuck in my head. Undead corpses, with weak bodies that slowly stop working? As heroes? Could I make it work?

    Finally, the idea of pain that didn't go away. What would happen if every little wound you took continued to hurt just as badly as it had in the first moment of pain? And what if that pain never, never went away?

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7478 Copy

    Dare2bu

    How difficult was it to come up with new magic systems considering the wealth of fantasy out there with already established magic systems(that seems to just get re-used in different formats by various other authors)? Do you have more systems to be used in future novels? If so how do you go about envisioning them and creating the rules in the first place?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've got a few very nifty ones reserved for the future. Don't worry; I'm not nearly out of ideas yet. And I'm constantly having new ones I don't have time to use.

    There IS a lot of fantasy out there. And yet, I think there's a great deal of room left for exploration in magic. The frontiers of imagination are still rough-and-tumble, unexplored places, particularly in this genre. It seems that a lot of fantasy sticks very close to the same kinds of magic systems.

    One of the things I've come to believe is that limitations are more important than powers in many cases. By not limiting themselves in what their characters can do, authors often don't have to really explore the extent of the powers they've created. If you are always handing your characters new powers, then they'll use the new and best—kind of like giving your teen a new car every year, rather than forcing them to test the limits of what that old junker will do. Often, those old cars will surprise you. Same thing for the magic. When you're constrained, as a writer, by the limits of the magic, it forces you to be more creative. And that can lead to better storytelling and a more fleshed out magic.

    Now, don't take this as a condemnation of other books. As writers, we all choose different things to focus on in our stories, and we all try different things. Jordan's ability to use viewpoint, Martin's use of character, Pratchett's use of wit—these are things that far outshine anything I've been able to manage in my works so far.

    But I do think that there is a great deal of unexplored ground still left to map out in some of these areas. (Specifically magic and setting.) A great magic system for me is one that has good limitations that force the characters to be creative, uses good visuals to make the scenes more engaging while written, and has ties to the culture of the world and the motivations of the viewpoint characters.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7479 Copy

    carmen22

    When it comes to crazy plot twists, fascinating characters, magic systems, humor, religion, etc., what do you feel, for you, is the hardest part to get on paper or come up with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say that the most difficult parts have to do with getting a character's internal conflicts (if they have them) right. Sometimes, this can take a lot of exploration. Sazed in Mistborn 3 took a LOT of work before I was satisfied.

    Second hardest is getting the humor right, particularly witty style humor like in the Lightsong sections of Warbreaker. There are frequently times when I spend hours on a single line in sections like that.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    MarlonRand

    Finally, do you have any advice for people that would like to write for a living?

    Brandon Sanderson

    First and foremost, don't give up. It can take a while. It takes time to master anything—whether it be writing, playing the piano, or brain surgery. People are willing to dedicate eight years or more to becoming a doctor. If you really want to be a writer, you need to be willing to dedicate the same amount of time and effort. Practice. Practice some more. Write a book, then write another, then write another. (I didn't sell my first, or my second, or my fifth. Elantris was my sixth book.)

    Secondly, write what you love. Don't try and guess the market. Read the type of books you want to write, pay attention to what they do, and decide what it is you want to say and how you will add to the discussion. What makes your additions to the conversation unique? Write it because you feel it inside of you, not because it's what seems to be hot right now.

    Finally, if I may make a plug, hop over to writingexcuses.com and listen to me and the others on our writing podcast talk about this sort of thing. ;)

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    MarlonRand

    Also, how did the experiment with Warbreaker turn out, and are you planning to do this with any other things you write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's so hard to tell, sales-wise, how it helped or hurt. I don't, honestly, think it hurt—and I think it could only have helped, as more and more WoT readers turned their eyes on me and were able to grab a book to read for free. I do plan to do it again in the future, most likely with the Warbreaker sequel.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    MarlonRand

    Is there any information about Way of Kings that you can give us at this time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've wanted to do a long epic for a while. I guess that's what comes from reading Jordan and the others while growing up. And so, way back in the late 90's—when I was experimenting with my style—I started working on ideas for a longer form series. I knew the real trick for me would be to do it in a way that it didn't feel stale after just a few books; there needed to be enough to the world, the magic, and the plot arcs that I (and hopefully readers) would keep interested in the series for such a long time.

    What it gives me (the thing that I want in doing a longer epic) is the chance to grow characters across a larger number of books. Dig into their pasts, explore what makes them think the way they do, in ways that even a trilogy cannot. In Kings, I don't want to do a longer 'saga' style series, with each book having a new set of characters. I want this to be one overarching story.

    One of the things that has itched at me for long time in my fantasy reading is the sense of loss that so many fantasy series have. I'm not complaining, mind you—I love these books. But it seems like a theme in a large number of fantasy books is the disappearance of magic and wonder from the world. In Tolkien, the Elves are leaving. In Jordan, technology is growing and perhaps beginning an age where it will overshadow magic. It's very present in Brooks, where the fantasy world is becoming our world. Even Eddings seemed to have it, with a sense that sorcerers are less common, and with things like the only Dragons dying, the gods leaving.

    I've wanted to do a series, then, where the magic isn't going away—it's coming back. Where the world is becoming a more wondrous place. Where new races aren't vanishing, they're being discovered.

    Obviously, I'm not the first to approach a fantasy this way. Maybe I'm reading too much into the other books, seeing something that isn't there. But the return of magic is one of the main concepts that is driving me.

    Well, that and enormous swords and magical power armor.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    Melhay

    Your stories are so in-depth and unique in the magical systems and religions. I was wondering if you have always, even through childhood, been creative with stories? Have some of the ideas in these books been something you created when young and then evolved into a story now? Have you always been interested in writing stories as you grew up? Did you have that notebook in class scribbling full of stories and ideas while sitting in class supposedly taking notes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've spoken before on the fact I didn't discover fantasy, and reading, until I was fourteen. (The book, if I haven't mentioned it on this forum yet, was Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.)

    Before then, I was a daydreamer. I was always daydreaming—I was never in the room where I was supposed to be listening or studying. I was off somewhere else. Oddly, though, I didn't make the connection between this and writing until I was given that first fantasy novel.

    When I read that book (and moved on to McCaffrey, as it was next in the card catalogue) I discovered something that blew my mind. Here were people who were taking what I did, sitting around and imagining stories, and they were making a living out of it.

    I hit the ground running, so to speak. Started my first novel the next fall, began gobbling up fantasy books wherever I could find them, began writing notes and ideas in my notebooks instead of (as you guessed) the notes I was supposed to be taking.

    Even after all this, though, I was persuaded that people couldn't make a living as an author. So I went to school my freshman year as a bio-chemist, on track for becoming a doctor. That lasted about one year of frustrating homework and classes spent daydreaming before I made the decision to try becoming a writer.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    Nadine

    I found this on a blog posted July 2008. Does it have any relationship to reality?

    ...No matter your race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or belief system, you will find something to love in The Way of Kings. There were pirates, ninjas, monkeys, fireworks, grand journeys, infidels dragged through streets by dragons and a fair amount of buckles swashed. There were ladies romanced, men romanced, sheep romanced and one scene where even two mice get it on. And if you can forgive an inordinate amount of abuse aimed at Canadians, this just may be the book for you. Be forewarned, however, if you can't abide graphic depictions of sexual content that would make Laurell K. Hamilton blush and cover her naughty bits, you might want to skip this book...

    ...The way Brandon Sanderson breathes life into this story is inspirational. The characters, the storyline, the magic—seemingly woven (as only Brandon can) from sheer nothingness. One of my favorite parts of the book is where the Wizard Ooflar divides one rather simple system of magic into five complex subsets, each with its own arcane history and labyrinthine steps. Who would have thought the apprentice Pemberly could put an entire village to sleep by tapping out a quadrille in her clogs? Although it would seem implausible, somehow his magical system works, especially the dance-off. I also enjoyed the ten-day feast in section two, chapter 85. I don't know if I'll ever forget the scene in which we see King Horag the Midleth eating live grunthyean orbs. (gag) I loved this book and can't wait for the sequel...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. These are some of the amusing fake reviews for Kings that readers have been posting on Amazon. For some reason, Amazon put up a page for this book years and years ago, when I got my first contract. Somehow, they heard I was working on a book called The Way of Kings, and jumped the gun in adding a page for it, even though I was still working on the book. (I've been planning, writing, and wrestling with this story for some ten years now.)

    Anyway, readers noticed the page and began having fun with it. None of them have read the book, but that hasn't stopped them from reviewing it. There are even pictures of it, including photoshops of me holding a fake book. Look for it on Amazon. It's rather amusing.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    BenFoley

    One common theme in magic systems across fantasy is the use of artifacts to focus, increase or do something specific with the magic. Inclusion of artifacts is something you have avoided in your magic systems (although I will say I haven't missed them). Is there a reason for this? How has your writing changed with the 'forced' introduction of artifacts (i.e. finishing the Wheel of Time)? Do you plan on using artifacts in your own works after you finish the Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've not done artifacts for the same reason I've not yet done a lot of things—not because I don't want to, but because I like to keep the focus in a given book or books. There wasn't room for yet another extrapolation in that direction when writing the Mistborn books, and the magic system didn't really allow for it.

    However, I think there is a lot of room to explore magic artifacts. I've long been wanting to do something that refines magic and uses technology based on it, in kind of a magic-punk sort of way. Kings, for instance, does use artifacts and magical items—very specific kinds, mind you, that are built into the framework of the magic system. But they're there. One of the big elements of this world will be the existence of Shardplate (magically enhanced, powered plate armor) and Shardblades (large, summonable swords designed to cut through steel and stone.)

    This isn't really because of the WoT—I wrote the original draft of this book long before I was published, let alone working on the WoT—but I have always lilked the use of artifacts in the WoT world, and it has been fun to use some of them in that setting.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    BenFoley

    You have stated in your blog that Mistborn had three magic systems (Allomancy, Feruchemy and Hemalurgy) and also that The Way of Kings will have upwards of 20. For comparison, how many magic systems would you say the Wheel of Time series has? Two (One Power and the True Power)? How do you classify other abilities (not necessarily related to the One Power or True Power) such as Dreamwalking, viewing the Pattern, Wolfbrother-hoodness, and changing 'luck' or chance? Would you classify these abilities as a magic system in and of themselves? Has your chance to see the background material Robert Jordan left changed how you view these abilities?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This kind of gets sticky, as it's all up to semantics. Really, you could say that Mistborn had a different magic system for each type of Misting. But at the same time, you could argue that something like X-Men—with huge numbers of powers—all falls under the same blanked 'magic system.' And take Hemalurgy in Mistborn 3—is it a new magic system, or just a reinterpretation of Allomancy and Feruchemy?

    So what do I mean by twenty or thirty magic systems in Kings? Hard to say, as I don't want to give spoilers. I have groupings of abilities that have to deal with a certain theme. Transformation, Travel, Pressure and Gravity, that sort of thing. By one way of counting, there are thirty of these—though by another way of grouping them together, there are closer to ten.

    Anyway, I'd say that the Wheel of Time has a fair number of Magic systems. The biggest one would be the One Power/True Power, which is more of a blanket "Large" magic system kind of like Allomancy being a blanket for sixteen powers—only the WoT magic system is far larger. I'd count what Perrin/Egwene do in Tel'aran'rhiod as a different magic system. What Mat does as something else, the Talents one can have with the Power something else. Though I'd group all of the Foretelling/Viewing powers into one.

    Sounds like a topic for a paper, actually. Any of you academics out there feel like writing one?

    Let's just say that The Wheel of Time has a smaller number of larger magic systems, and I tend to use a larger number of smaller magic systems. Confusing enough? ;)

    Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
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    Leinton (paraphrased)

    I also asked him about capitalization. 

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He talked about how in modern English, capitalization is boring and doesn’t happen often enough, referring back to the Victorian era where they would just capitalize Important Words. 

    Leinton (paraphrased)

    I asked him about parshmen vs Parshendi. 

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He said that the Parshendi were a nation.

    Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Can someone bond more than one Honorblade?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Honorblade?  You can't bond an Honorblade, though it can be given to you. Shardblades, however, come from a spren bond and it is possible to bond more than one.

    Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
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    Leinton (paraphrased)

    Can Breath be used to power Surgebinding?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    They are very similar Investitures, and most of the magics can be powered with the other magics if you are capable of making that happen.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    What would happen to the Breath?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The Breath would be consumed in the same way that Stormlight is. A renewing resource, much like atium is.

    Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
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    Leinton (paraphrased)

    If Endowment were killed, would the Returned still come?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Somebody needs to hold the magic. If no one holds the magic, the magic will start to gain sentience. Interesting and bizarre things happen then, so I would say yes, but with the caveat that with whoever picks up the power or what happens with the power could end up changing that.

    Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    What kind of changes do Slivers go through after letting go of a Shard's power?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It leaves them, imagine it like a balloon that has been deflated.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Okay, so would Rashek still have had powers?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He would have had some residual effects. But it also works the soul in weird ways, like a balloon that has been deflated.

    Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    For the people you have coming back in the Stormlight Archive--how do you pick who makes the cut?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It just depends on where I feel like going, the interludes are complete freedom for me.