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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eleven

    Siri Visits the God King's Chamber Again

    To be honest, in a perfect world, I'd probably slow this down just a tad. I'd insert another chapter from Siri's viewpoint with her going to the chambers, the God King watching her, and her being subservient. I wouldn't do this chapter, where she explodes at him, until their third scene together.

    But that would only happen in a book where I don't have quite so much going on with other viewpoints. My books are already a tad on the long side, as far as the booksellers are concerned. They'd like it if epic fantasy novels shrank down to about 120,000 words (instead of my average of 240,000).

    If I'd really thought it mattered, I'd have put the extra scene in. The real problem is that since Siri is only one of four major viewpoints, I needed to be careful. If this book were only about her, I could have filled her chapters with more political intrigue and added a lot of subplots. That would have made a slower pacing with the God King work. However, I decided not to go that direction with the book, so I needed instead to make sure the pacing was quicker on the main plot she's involved in.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Denth the Traitor

    Denth was always going to betray Vivenna. In fact, this is one of the very early concepts for the book—the idea that I wanted a bad guy who was not only likable, but funny. Too often, villains are portrayed as simply despicable people. If they laugh, it's evil laughter.

    But people just aren't like that, not most of them. They're real, they have goals and motivations, but they also laugh, cry, and feel. Denth is a mercenary. More than that, he's a man who has caused a lot of pain and death in his long lifetime, and he copes with it by letting himself be hired to do important tasks. So that he doesn't have to feel as responsible.

    In a lot of ways, I imagined Denth as the anti-Kelsier. Glib, smart, and hired to do impossible tasks. Only in this book he works for the wrong team. In this scene in particular, he was doing his best to nudge Vivenna to give him the Breaths. His job was only to hold her, to keep her captive and in reserve just in case the plots with Siri failed. That way, there would be a second princess to use in the plots. He was assigned to work for Lemex originally just to give him an in with the Idrians in the city, so that he could rile them up to incite the war further. But when he found that Vivenna was coming, he realized that she would be a much better pawn, and so he poisoned Lemex and took her instead. His employers were very happy to have a backup princess.

    So, anyway, Lemex's Breaths were secondary. Denth wanted them, but he knew that the most important thing to do here was get Vivenna to trust him. So he tried to subtly manipulate her into giving them to him. (He intentionally acted reluctant to take them in order to goad her.)

    In some ways, even though he doesn't have a viewpoint, a big theme of this book is the tragedy of the man Denth. He could have been more. At one time, he was a much better man than most who have lived.

    Tonk Fah is a waste of flesh, though. Even if he is funny sometimes.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vivenna Visits Lemex

    In the very early planning of this book, I intended Lemex to live. He was going to become a mentor figure for Vivenna, and have the very personality that she described him as having in her imagination. Spry, quick-witted, intelligent.

    So I decided to kill him off.

    Why? Well, it's complicated. On one hand, I felt that he was too much of a standard character from one of my books. The witty mentor is not only a stereotype of fantasy, but something I rely upon a lot in my writing. (Though, granted, many of those haven't been published—however, Grandpa Smedry from the Alcatraz books is a great example of this kind of character.)

    I also felt that Lemex could too easily be a crutch for Vivenna in the same way that Mab could have been for Siri. The idea was to keep these sisters consistently out of their elements, to force them to stretch and grow.

    Instead, I upped the competence of the mercenaries and decided to have them play a bigger part.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Ten

    Vivenna Meets the Mercenaries in the Restaurant

    Denth was planned as an important figure in this book from the early going. I was looking for a type of character I'd never written, someone who could be interesting, but not steal the show too much from Vivenna. But I also wanted someone who would provide some good verbal sparring (a theme of this book) without simply replicating the way that Lightsong makes word plays.

    Denth's and Tonk Fah's personalities grew out of this. I wanted them to offer a more lowbrow sort of humor, conversations that dealt with more base types of joking. They aren't supposed to be laugh-out-loud funny, but hopefully they're amusing and colorful as characters.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Parlin as a Character

    Any of you who followed the development of Warbreaker as a novel through the early stages know that Parlin, as a character, changed dramatically across revisions. He began with a different name (Peprin) and was much more bumbling and innocent. He provided some comic relief and often said dumb things.

    This just didn't work. For one thing, we already have the mercenaries in Vivenna's viewpoint to give us some fun lines. (More on them later.) For another, Peprin was just too dense. I didn't like how stupid he came off. He seemed ridiculous rather than funny. So, I chopped him out and replaced him with a similar character who was more competent.

    For instance, in the original draft, Peprin bought a hat because he thought it was cool—but it just made him look stupid. Parlin buys the same hat, but his reasoning is that if you're going to go about in the woods, you dress in woodland colors. If you're going to go about in the city, you want to start dressing in city colors. It's good reasoning, and you'll see him follow it more in the future. The two men do the same thing, but in my head the rationale was completely different, and that changed how I wrote them. (I hope.)

    Reading through the book again, I still feel that Parlin just isn't enough of a character. With the mercenaries there to dominate the scene, Parlin gets lost. I feel that if I had the time, I'd probably chop him out again and replace him with yet another character, one who talks more, so that he can be more a part of things. Ah well.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vivenna Watches the City

    One of the reasons I knew that I had to make Vivenna a viewpoint character was that there was such a wonderful contrast between her and Siri. The way they look at the world is so different that it provides excellent opportunities for the story. The way they each respond to their first visit to T'Telir is an example of this.

    Beyond that, with Siri and Lightsong locked in the court, and with Vasher doing whatever the heck Vasher is doing, we didn't have any characters who could experience the city itself consistently with a sympathetic viewpoint.

    As I've stated, this book began as one about the two sisters who are forced into each other's roles, and how they deal with those changes in their lives. Vivenna is an integral part of this process.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Nine

    Vivenna as a Viewpoint Character

    Generally, Vivenna is the readers' least favorite character in the book. I can see why that is. Siri gets to be the flamboyant younger sister, Lightsong the pithy courtier, and Vasher the mysterious unknown. Vivenna, then, is saddled with the responsibility of being the older sister trying to do what is right. She's not as dynamic as the others, particularly from the start.

    Perhaps this should have made me want to put more into her viewpoints. Change her to be more dynamic, perhaps. However, I resisted that. Of the four, Vivenna is the most like me. The older sibling who gets into other people's business, ostensibly for their own good. I was a lot like that when I was younger.

    For me, Vivenna is the most interesting character in the book. Yes, Lightsong was the most fun to write—but Vivenna is the one who has the most potential for growth and change. Particularly because she isn't instantly appealing like the other three. Much like Hrathen in Elantris, Vivenna begins very far from where she would need to go if she wanted to gain the rooting interest of readers. You'll have to read on and see if she actually gets there.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eight

    Siri Wakes Up Untouched, Then Explores the Palace

    These Siri chapters presented a little bit of a problem to me in that I generally focus my writing around conversations. A given chapter will have some action and description, but usually the series of scenes revolves around important discussions between characters.

    But in the palace during the Jubilation, Siri has almost nobody to talk to. She just doesn't have anything to do. A note to aspiring writers: A character not having anything to do is bad. You want action, motion, and conflict in your stories. That's what keeps them moving and interesting.

    But in this case, Siri's lack of direction was necessary to make the plot work. In these chapters, Siri is just reacting—trying to stay afloat in a world very different from her own. So I had to focus on other ways to make the scenes interesting.

    A lot of times, in writing, needs like this end up defining aspects of the books. I hadn't intended the palace to work as it did—with each room being modular, any of them able to transform into any type of room. I intended to give Siri her own set of chambers, as might be expected in a situation like this.

    But when I reached this point in the book, the chapter was looking dull, and I knew I needed some little twist to the palace to make it original enough to hold Siri's—and the reader's—attention here. It's a very small thing, but I think that one change added a lot to the chapter, and therefore the book.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Blushweaver

    Blushweaver was the first of the gods who I named, and her title then set the standard for the others in the Court of Gods. Lightsong was second, and I toyed with several versions of his name before settling. Blushweaver's name, however, came quickly and easily—and I never wanted to change it once I landed on it.

    When developing the Court of Gods, I wanted to design something that felt a little like a Greek pantheon—or, rather, a constructed one. Everyone is given their portfolio by the priests after they Return. Blushweaver was given the portfolio of honesty and interpersonal relations, and over the fifteen years of her rule, she's become one of the most dynamic figures in the court. Few remember it anymore, but she was successful at having her name changed during her first year. She used to be Blushweaver the Honest, and she became Blushweaver the Beautiful through a campaign and some clever politicking.

    Many think of her as the goddess of love and romance, though that technically isn't true. It's just the name and persona she's crafted for herself, as she saw that as a position of greater power. She actually toyed with going the opposite direction, becoming the chaste goddess of justice and honor. However, in the end, she decided to go the direction that felt more natural to her.

    After these fifteen years, it's hard to distinguish when she is being herself and when she's playing a part. The two have become melded and interchangeable.

    When designing this story, I knew I wanted to have a beautiful goddess to give Lightsong some verbal sparring. However, I realized early on that I didn't want to go the route of having a disposable, sultry bimbo goddess of love. I needed someone more complicated and capable than that, someone who was a foil to Lightsong not just in verbal sparring, but someone who could prod him to be more proactive. And from that came Blushweaver.

    In the original draft of the book, this chapter had a slightly different tone. Lightsong didn't look forward to sparring with Blushweaver; he cringed and wished she wouldn't bother him. That artifact remained until the later drafts, though it didn't belong. I wrote the later chapters with them getting along quite well, so I wanted to revise this first chapter to imply that he looked forward to their conversations.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seven

    Siri Enters the God King's Chambers

    This is one of those chapter breaks that is there for stylistic drama more than anything else. Thematically, these two chapters are really the same chapter. However, I wanted to break before she steps in because it works so well as a dramatic turn in the story.

    I've had e-mails asking me about how to decide when to break a chapter. Honestly, I'm not sure how to answer this one. Breaking chapters isn't something I plan; it's something I just do. A good chapter should have a nice arc of its own, with rising action, a climax, then perhaps some brief falling action. (And thinking of that, you can probably see why chapters five and six can be considered a single chapter in this regard.) But there's not a real science to it—break where it feels right.

    Anyway, Siri's entrance here is probably the first big climactic moment of the book. It's where I've been pushing the novel since the beginning, and is one of the focal scenes for this book. (The scenes that I imagine and develop before I being writing, which then propel their section of the novel.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The Royal Locks

    A group of people whose hair changes color based on their emotions is another one of those little story seeds that had been bouncing around in my head for years before I wrote this book. I even did a few test chapters in other settings with characters who had this physical attribute. (Dark One, which I don't know if I'll ever finish, toyed with it. As did a book set in the Aether world.)

    Eventually, this attribute slid into Warbreaker. I'm glad I found a good home for it; I love how it adds a little bit of flavor to Siri and Vivenna, making them distinctive in a way that doesn't have much of anything to do with the plot. I always talk about making things connected, and that's very important. But you have to be careful not to make everything too neat. That leads to its own problems, as I mentioned in an earlier annotation.

    The Royal Locks do work into the worldbuilding, as you'll find out eventually in the book. However, mostly they're around to give a distinctive feel to the world and the royal line, to show you that there is something unique about the royals. It hopefully enhances your understanding of why Hallandren would work so hard to bring them back into their own line of kings.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Six

    Siri Is Bathed, Then Sent to the God King

    This was a strange sequence of chapters to write. I've spoken before on writing characters of the opposite gender. This has grown easier and easier for me over the years, partially—I think—because I started out so bad at it that I insisted on forcing myself to practice and practice. Now, it's usually as easy for me as writing men. In fact, I don't even think about the gender of the character when I'm writing—I think about who the character is. What their motivations and conflicts are. How they see the world and how they react to things. True, their gender does influence this—just as it influences their personalities. But I don't sit down and say, "I'm going to write a woman now." I sit down and say, "I'm going to write Siri." I know who Siri is, so I can see through her eyes and show how she reacts.

    All that said, I'd never before tried writing a wedding night from the viewpoint of a woman. It presented a few interesting challenges. For one, there's a whole lot more nudity in this book than in my other books. I don't shy away from this (even though I myself am probably more conservative than most of my readers in areas of sexuality), as I feel that what you do with your imagination is your own business. This scene could be done in a PG way, a PG-13 way, or an R way. It's completely up to you how you want to imagine it.

    One interesting thing to note is that my own wedding happened during the process of writing this book. I wrote this chapter before then, but I was engaged at the time. While working on the novel I got to go through the entire progression of awkward moments of a wedding night myself. (Yes, it was our first time, by choice.)

    I think that probably colored how I wrote Siri's viewpoints throughout the entire book.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Lightsong's Wisecracks

    The other major Lightsong revision happened in the form of a humor upgrade. My editor didn't complain about the same thing as my agent—instead, my editor wanted to laugh more. He wanted more witty lines from Lightsong. I resisted this at first, as I worried that making him too snappy would undermine his internal conflicts. I wanted him to be droll, but not necessarily brilliant.

    Eventually, however, my editor prevailed upon me. He was always of the opinion that a few extra witty lines wouldn't undermine anything. I have to say, I like the lines, and I'm mostly glad to have them. But I do worry about overloading the humor in Lightsong's chapters, and therefore diluting his internal conflict.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Five - Part Two

    Lightsong's Dream

    The Lightsong sections received two major upgrades during the last few drafts of the novel. The first was the enhancement of his memories of his dreams. We don't get to see the dreams, just their effect on him.

    In the original draft, these dreams were far less ominous, particularly at the beginning of the book. My agent complained that the book felt like it lacked direction, particularly in the Lightsong sequences, and asked me to find a way to make it more tense. He didn't care if Lightsong joked; he just wanted to feel a tension underneath. A sense that all was not right.

    The dreams came from this. Originally, Lightsong just dreamed about the ship leaving the port. In the later drafts, I added him remembering more in this chapter—the city on fire, the flames causing a red reflection on the ocean.

    This actually wasn't a change to the dream. That's what I'd intended him to have dreamed; I just originally had him forgetting. I didn't start getting into the violent dreams until much later in the book, one chapter in particular. But because of Joshua's requests, I moved the sense of danger up from those later chapters to here to begin foreshadowing earlier.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Originally, I had Vasher make an oblique comment about Bebid's daughter as a way to get him to talk. However, I shied away from this in later drafts, moving to more nebulous indiscretions instead. I felt that a comment about a daughter might sound too much like kidnapping on Vasher's part, even though I was thinking that his daughter had done something embarrassing that, if revealed, would get the priest into trouble.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher Meets Bebid the Priest for Food

    Restaurants. They didn't really exist in a lot of medieval cultures. Now, most of my books don't take place in medieval times—they're more preindustrial uchronias, late renaissance if you will. Warbreaker is no exception.

    T'Telir seems the kind of place that would have restaurants. Places to sit idly, eating and chatting. It is a successful port city with a lot of trade and a great deal of wealth. There's even something of a middle class, another concept that didn't exist during a lot of periods in time.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Nightblood Origins

    I've been wanting to do a book with a talking sword for some time. Sentient objects are a favorite theme of mine from fantasy books I've read, and I think you'll probably see more of them in future books from me.

    The magic sword is its own archetype in fantasy, even if there haven't been any good magic sword books among the big fantasy novels of recent years. Perhaps that's because Saberhagen and Moorcock did such a good job with their books in the past. I'm not sure. (I don't count appearances of magic swords like Callandor in the Wheel of Time. I mean books with major parts played by swords.)

    Anyway, that's a tangent, and I'm certain that half the people reading this can think of examples and exceptions to what I just said. Either way, this is a theme I wanted to tackle, and the magic system of this world lent me the opportunity.

    Nightblood is another favorite character of the readers. I think his personality works the best out of any non-viewpoint character I've ever written. He doesn't get that much dialogue in the book, but it is so distinctive that it just works.

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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    A related question. When you add to the wiki, do you soften the writing to add more information to the wiki?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Occasionally I do. Usually it’s at the end of a scene; I’ll go and add things. Or now that I have a Peter, I will say “Peter, go put this chapter ino the wiki, and fix whatever problems that don’t fit. That’s what he’s doing right now with his time is he’s going through the whole Way of Kings and making sure that the wiki matches, because the wiki actually contains like 5 or 6 iterations as I was building the world of “No, let’s rewrite the creation myth”, “No, let’s rewrite where this came from”, “No let’s rewrite this.” And it has all the old versions there as well as the newest version, and as I’m writing, I’ll change things because I’ll say “You know, this doesn’t work. I’m going to alter this.” Then I’ve got to stop and make sure that the continuity gets kept.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Also, just in case you're wondering, the Bright Sea and the Inner Sea are both the same place. It's another Idris/Hallandren thing. Most mountains, oceans, and lakes have two names—the Idrian one and the Hallandren one. Originally, this happened because there was bad blood between the two kingdoms, so they'd call things different names in order to differentiate themselves. Ironically, in a lot of cases both names have stuck, and both kingdoms have found themselves alternating between the two names.

    Inner Sea was the Idrian name for the body of water, renamed because they wanted to downplay how important it was. (Idris is landlocked, after all.) Bright Sea was the original name.

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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    In the Way of Kings, you have all of these different characters, how do you keep your characters’ personalities straight?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Good question. Keeping characters straight—the thing I do that deviates from most of the way I normally write. I normally plan quite a bit. I normally—my worlds are very intricately planned out, with their histories, and usually the plot of what’s going to happen are pretty intricately planned out before I start the book. The characters are not. And this is why a book fails, like the original Way of Kingsdid in 2002, it’s because one of the characters is not who they need to be, and they are failing.

     

    This is something I do by instinct more than by planning. I grow my characters, so I often describe it as I “cast” my characters, I’ll put different people in the role, I’ll sit down and say “okay, here is a character to play this role.” I’ll start writing them, and seeing their personality, and seeing the world through their eyes, and I’ll see if that works. If it doesn't, I’ll actually drop that and rewrite that scene with a different personality, a different character, have someone else walk in and try the role. I’ll do that a couple of times till they click. When they click, I basically know who they are. From that point on, I don’t have any problems keeping then right. When I write a book when a character doesn’t click, then that book often fails. Sometimes they click halfway through, and I have to go back and fix them. Sometimes they’re just 90% there, and I just need to keep writing and figure it out as I go. But sometimes, that never quite works, and this is the reason sometimes—there is this book named Liar of Partinel, which I never released, because the character never clicked. And people will say “Let me read it, let me read it!” but it will predispose you to that character, and that character, that personality is the wrong person. So I don’t know how I keep them all straight. It just works with characters.

    But that’s just with characters. With plot and things, I’ve got to write it down, for setting I've got to write it down, I actually have a big wiki that I build that I reference to keep everything straight. Characters I never have to be that way. They just work.

    So I can’t give you good advice on that, because it’s simply how I do it. And they just grow into their own person.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Other Notes

    Yes, there are Returned in Idris. There are Returned everywhere in this world that there are people. (The name of this world is Nalthis, by the way. Mistborn takes place on a world called Scadrial, and Elantris on a world known as Sel. See the fun things you learn by reading annotations?)

    I'd like someday to do a sequel to Warbreaker, in part because I want to show off all of the different ways people in Nalthis deal with the Returned. They're treated in very strange ways some places. For instance, just across the mountains there's a kingdom where when someone dies in a way that might be heroic, the corpse is immediately purchased by a nobleman hoping to hit the jackpot and get a Returned. You see, since Returned can heal people, keeping one around to act as an emergency insurance plan to restore your health is a great idea.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Undead

    I'd been toying for a long time with doing a book with "technological" undead in a fantasy world. A place where a body could be recycled, restored to a semblance of life, then set to work. I'm always looking for ways to explore new ground in fantasy, and I've seen people sticking to the same old tropes with undead. (Mindless, rotting zombies or dynamic, goth-dressed vampires.)

    I wanted to play with a middle ground. If you've got a magic that can make a stick figure come to life, what could it do with a dead body? How could a society make use of these walking corpses, treating them as a realistic resource?

    The Lifeless grew out of this desire. I developed something like them for use earlier in a completely different novel, but I abandoned that plan years ago. They returned to the scrap pile of my mind, from which I draw forth and recombine ideas to create novels.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Four - Part Two

    Hawaii

    Why, yes, I did visit Hawaii in the middle of writing this book. Did you notice?

    Following Mistborn, I wanted to do a book set in a place that looked very different from the Final Empire. What's different from a burned-out wasteland? Why, a tropical paradise of course! One of the great things about being an author is the ability to justify going to Hawaii just so I could do research on how to properly describe the plants, landscape, and atmosphere in a place like that. It's really a tough job, but I'm willing to sacrifice for you all. No need to thank me.

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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    What happens if you create a time bubble in a time bubble?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Lots of people are theorizing about that. The time bubble would not collapse, I’ll answer that much.

    Zas (paraphrased)

    I think that you said at the Alloy release that it was mul—de...

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Multiplicitive?

    Zas (paraphrased)

    Yeah. 

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I may have given an answer to that or not. I’m not going to say anything about that. Time travel and find out.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Siri Approaches T'Telir

    And we finally get to see T'Telir. I'm still a tad bothered that it's chapter four before we get to see the city. I worry that people will read the book and have trouble getting grounded in it, since we've now had five viewpoints across five chapters and have been in a lot of different locations.

    However, I think that the groundwork in the first four chapters is needed to make the book work. I just couldn't figure out a way to cut it all out and still have things work. Perhaps (just perhaps) I could have moved the Vasher prologue into the middle and made it a regular chapter, then moved the original Siri/Dedelin chapter to a prologue. Then, with the decision to send Siri into the city made, I could have jumped straight to this one. However, we'd have lost too much in that. Doing it this way isn't perfect either, but I think it's still the best way the book could have been done.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Four - Part One

    Naming in This Book

    The names in this novel, particularly in Hallandren and Idris, follow the concept of repeated consonant sounds.

    I wanted to try something a little more distinctive in this book than the names were in Mistborn. In that book, I intentionally backed away from the insane craziness of the names in Elantris. I've written entire essays on how I devised the languages in that book. The names were appropriate for the novel, since the language was so important to the story. However, I know that the number and oddity of many of the names in Elantris was off-putting.

    So, instead, in Mistborn I chose names that were much easier to say, and gave everyone a simple nickname. When it came time for Warbreaker, I wanted to try something else, to take a step back toward distinctiveness in the language, but not go as far as I had in Elantris.

    I've long toyed with using double consonants as a naming structure. I played with a lot of different ways of writing these. I could either use the letters doubled up, with no break (Ttelir). I could slip a vowel in the middle and hope people pronounced it as a schwa sound (Tetelir). Or I could use the fantasy standard of an apostrophe (T'telir).

    In the end, I decided to go with all three. I felt that writing all the names after one of the ways would look repetitive and annoying. By using all three, I could have variety, yet also have a theme. So, you have doubles in names like Llarimar. You have inserted vowels like in Vivenna. And you have apostrophes like in T'Telir.

    I think it turned out well. Some members of my writing group complained about fantasy novels and their overuse of apostrophes in names. My answer: Tough. Just because English doesn't like to do it doesn't mean we have to eschew it in other languages. I like the way T'Telir looks with an apostrophe, and the way people will say it. So it stays.

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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    At the end of Alloy of Law, when...

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Spoiler! Talk circumloqutically, talk around it.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    When that person said that thing at the end of the book, will that lead to future ideas of books?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Things in the Alloy of Law are foreshadowing things that will happen in the modern day Mistborn trilogy.

    Footnote: This could be referring to both the "men of red and gold" that miles mentions while dying, or Marsh while speaking to Marasi.
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    Zas (paraphrased)

    I’ve got a question kind of based off of the train fight. If you have a time bubble, and you were to make it while you are on the train, would the time bubble move with the train, or would it stay at the same spot relative to the planet?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Time bubbles don’t move, so it would pull you out of it, then it would vanish.

    Mi'chelle (paraphrased)

    If you were to pop up a time bubble and someone were to be stuck halfway in and halfway out, would they go splooch?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No, they would be in the time bubble. The time bubbles will move with the planet but not with the train.

    Audience Member (paraphrased)

    Yeah, I always thought it was relative to the person creating the time bubble.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No, you’ll see Wayne create one, then he’ll walk up to the perimeter, but if he leaves it, it ruins the time bubble.

    Zas (paraphrased)

    So is that because it’s linked up to the spiritual gravitational bond between the planet?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, and you’re digging very deeply into stuff that I now can’t answer. Time bubbles have some weirdness to them that I don’t want to dig in too deeply, but yes.

    Footnote: This has since been changed. If a time bubble is created on/in an object with a significant enough mass, such as a train, the bubble will adhere to and move with the object, and remain stationary relative to the point at which it was created on/in the object.
    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #7584 Copy

    Questioner

    After a spren has been bonded, what happens if the person it's bonded with dies?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If the person they are bonded with dies, it is an emotional event for the spren, but not a damaging event. As long as their oaths were not <broken>.

    Argent

    Kind of like if a friend dies?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe a little more personal than that.

    Questioner

    I guess Helaran was not bonded to a spren then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    And why do you say that?

    Questioner

    I was looking at this line here and saw that his [Blade] had a gemstone at the bottom, so that was a clue.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a very good clue, yes.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #7585 Copy

    Questioner

    With all the spren, the ones that are developing thought and all that, are you going to have them interact, that we see-- Because you don't really have much interaction between them right now that we know of

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, we do not. I think it is safe to say that what Syl and Pattern say about spren in this book implies that there is between different spren that you can look forward to.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #7586 Copy

    Questioner

    Why can only women write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It has to with a lot of cultural mores, spraying out of a certain sort of essay written a long ago that divided masculine arts and feminine arts, and then some cultural things sort of went along with that ended up gaining momentum.

    Questioner

    And we'll find out more about that I guess.

     

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah... I mean, to the characters it's like asking "Why do you guys shake hands?" It's what you do, culturally. But there are reasons for it.

    Footnote: The "sort of essay" referred to here by Brandon is Arts and Majesty.
    West Jordan signing ()
    #7587 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    So Ruin and Preservation combine. When Odium slays the Shardbearers [Vessels], why doesn’t he absorb the enemy Shards?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Because that would actually change the way he views the world. The Shard would actually start to influence him, and could actually ruin who he views himself as being. So instead of combining them all, his goal is to destroy them all and be the only one left at his power level.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    So by his nature, he can't combine?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I mean he could, but it would change his nature. So he won't.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #7588 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    People are going crazy wondering if there are telegraphs and telephones in Alloy of Law. Are there? And if not, why?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    There are not yet. And the reason why is because they haven’t needed them yet. Necessity is the, what the fuel of invention?

    Audience Member (paraphrased)

    The mother of invention

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, the mother of invention, and they have messengers who run, Coinshots who are very fast. They also basically don’t need to go outside the City, and haven’t for a long time. They’re close, but they haven’t invented them yet for the same reason that they have very poor navigation techniques. Why do you need to ship anything or sail anywhere when you have some idyllic paradise to live in? And you have allomancers, who in some ways are preventing from achieving that next level, because a Coinshot can get it there really fast, and so you’re only waiting a few minutes for them to come back with your message, so it can actually stifle a little bit of technology by having a not-quite-as-good magical solution.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #7589 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Is Thinker from the Purelake scene Demoux [from the Mistborn Era 1]?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Demoux is indeed in that scene.

    And for those who didn’t hear, about the other one, there is a scene in the Way of Kings. People have been trying to figure out… there are some members of… there are some people there that I have hinted are from other books, and they have now figured out two of the three. I don’t think you’ve figured out the third one, and you won’t because…

    Mi'chelle (paraphrased)

    Has their book been written yet? Has their book been published?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Their book has not been published yet. I won’t say if it’s been written yet. Is anyone confused at what’s going on there? There is a connection between the books.

    Footnote: The scene being discussed is the three men, Thinker, Grump, and Blunt, in the Ishikk interlude of The Way of Kings, set in the Purelake. These three men are members of the Cosmere organization, The Seventeenth Shard.
    West Jordan signing ()
    #7590 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Is AonDor Physical, Spiritual, or Cognitive?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. *laughter* Are you a Sharder?

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    A little bit. *laughter*

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    AonDor is mixed up in all three. So I would say more Cognitive and Spiritual than it is Physical, but it is mixed up in all three.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #7592 Copy

    Questioner

    Why does the Shardbearer-- when they are dueling with Adolin and Renarin-- Why does the Shardbearer freak out when Kaladin grabs the sword? The <Shardbearer> like... He screams, and he's like, "I didn't kill you", and ran away.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Why does he do that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Because when Kaladin was there, and they were touching it, they actually heard the spren that was inside of it. Right? Because when an--

    Questioner

    So it wasn't Syl that he heard, it was the sword.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was the sword's spren... that Kaladin was touching it. When the Knight Radiant touches it-- You can see when other Knights Radiant pick up swords, they can hear the screaming.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #7595 Copy

    Questioner

    So how did Shallan rescue Kaladin when they fell in the chasm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She did not. It was actually Syl, but he was in the process of breaking the bond, and so she was able to get some Stormlight to him. But that is what really set it really poorly. Like you can imagine, she-- this bond was really a strain for her to use at that point, so it was her. But doing what she did just about destroyed her, which is why you don't hear from her after that.

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #7596 Copy

    Questioner

    How does a world that is wracked by Storms supply food for and entire population?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, you um... The thing to keep in mind is, it's not a barren planet. There are lots of plants on this planet. When-- I mean, it's no more barren than a corral reef that deals with the tide rushing in and rushing out. Now, the life has to adapt to it, but it's a really lush planet. You-- I mean, if you go and you look at the Shattered Plains there's grass everywhere and plants growing all over the place. It's just, right before a Storm, it becomes barren and then becomes lush again.

    *long pause* 

    Yeah, that was, um... One of the things I kind of have to overcome with this books is, though it is very rocky and stony, it's also very lush, and it's hard sometimes for people to imagine that. But even if it is a little bit barren, Utah is barren, and it supported people.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #7598 Copy

    Questioner

    I was reading stuff online about like a Mistborn videogame?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, we'll still working on it. It's taking much longer than we thought. The developer, that producer of the game and I had chosen, they, ah, had a falling out and split and so we had to start over from scratch and that's what really threw us for a loop. We then took it to a really prestigious one-- game company that I love and they considered it for a long time, but it turned out that they just didn't have the time and couldn't do it. So now we are kind of back to square one finding a third group to do it.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #7599 Copy

    Questioner

    I write as well, and I was wondering what books you use to improve your own writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have found both of Orson Scott Card’s books to be very good. Stephen King's book is very good. I find that my writing improves more when I read people's writing that I admire and then ask myself what they did well. That helps me more than some of the textbooks. 

    Questioner

    That's kind of how I was feeling too, for myself, so excellent.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Breaking down someone who's really good at this, like Anne McCaffrey, or somebody like that, and saying "what is she actually doing?".

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #7600 Copy

    Questioner

    From the very beginning did you already know-- like cosmere? Like was that your goal setting out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was my goal very early on. In fact, before I wrote any books I wrote a short story about Hoid. So he goes back to before the very first book that I wrote. So yeah it goes back pretty far. I can trace inspirations back to Asimov tying Foundation and Robots together and feeling like that was really cool and wanting to do something like that, if it makes sense. And so I would say that’s probably like the first seed was when I read the later Foundation books and they tied them together.