Recent entries

    Calamity release party ()
    #7701 Copy

    Llwvyn

    Hoid has said that what he does, when he heals or comes back to life or whatever, heals the soul

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Llwvyn

    But Hemalurgy is like ripping off a piece of the soul. Could he heal that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is possible. Well, his particular brand of healing is very Spiritual Realm based. And so, it would-- he could. Not all brands of healing are capable. It depends on what's happening, and things like that. But yes, he would. Most Shardbearers [Surgebinders?] when they're in the throes of their powers would heal spiritually. *brief pause* Not all of them. Not all healing will do that, though.

    Llwvyn

    Yeah. Because I was thinking that maybe you could spike him multiple times and compound his power.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Spiking him could do some weird things though. But spiking can do weird things to anyone.

    Calamity Chicago signing ()
    #7703 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you tell us about a cultural inspiration you’ve used in a world that we have not seen?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wrote one that was based off of Mesoamerican- there’s a tribe out of Costa Rica. And I didn’t get the story done, but I used that one… it was really an obscure tribe, which made it really hard to name things and stuff like that. What else have I done that you haven’t seen… <thinking noises> There’s Polynesian stuff you haven’t seen, but you’ve also seen a lot of it [already], so…

    Footnote: The transcript uncertainly attributes the question to Alterodent. Check?
    Calamity Chicago signing ()
    #7704 Copy

    Questioner

    In Scadrial the amount of investiture in humans from Preservation, aka, the amount of Mistborn and mist powers, is that decreasing or just being diffused among the population?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That power is being diffused among the population, though everybody has some of it already. That power is not.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7705 Copy

    FeatherWriter

    Are Renarin's visions compulsive or involuntary?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Renarin's visions are-- have an element of that to them... So I'll ask you a question in return.

    FeatherWriter

    Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    How do Rosharans view seeing the future?

    FeatherWriter

    Oh yeah, very bad. Of Odium.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. They sure do.

    Calamity Chicago signing ()
    #7706 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there a orbitary range limiter placed on the powers of an Epic, or does it vary from person to person?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It differs from person to person.

    Questioner

    So, for Chicago, what was the range of the city turning into...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've got it in my notes. It was basically enough to get me to Soldier Field, because that's where *inaudible*, does that make sense? I thought we'd go to Soldier Field, and then a little ways.

    Questioner #1

    Like a mile?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a bit more than a mile, it's a couple miles. But the guy who said "7 miles" and I'm like "Yeah, you could be in danger".

    Argent

    The question is, where was [Steelheart] standing when did [the Grand Transfersion].

    Brandon Sanderson

    He was in a bank that I actually looked up, that was in downtown, and I changed the name of it. [...] The problem was, it went that far into the lake as well, and I wanted to get a good chunk of the lake, but not like, you know... and so, it's probably like four mile radius or something like that, so the seven mile radius guy is probably okay. I wanted to get downtown, Soldier Field, a little bit beyond...

    Questioner

    Chicago proper.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Calamity Chicago signing ()
    #7707 Copy

    Questioner

    [...] For the picture of all the Radiants and their surges, in the background there’s two dragons. Are those just--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those are not dragons. Those are little beasties from the world. You’ve seen them before.

    Argent

    Larkin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. But you can call them "dragon bugs" if you want, that’s what Isaac called them when I described them.

    Questioner

    So are they just from the world, or do they have any over-reaching signif--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well they have a certain ability that you may have seen in-world, which is pretty distinctive and different, and so they have a lot of mythological import. They are not widely known by most cultures right now.

    Calamity Chicago signing ()
    #7709 Copy

    Argent

    If a Shard wanted to affect another Shard’s magic system, would they need to Invest themselves in the world, or can they just kind of show up and do things?

    Brandon Sanderson

    “Affect their magic system”? What do you mean by that?

    Argent

    So for Roshar, let’s say additional Surges or modified Surges. For Scadrial different metals. For Nalthis--

    Brandon Sanderson

    That would require more than just showing up.

    Calamity Chicago signing ()
    #7710 Copy

    Kurkistan

    Is there such a thing as a Feruchemical savant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did not write Feruchemical savants into the original outline. Whether or not I will do them- it’s highly unlikely because it’s not there and Mistborn is getting trickier and trickier in that regard. But I didn’t write them in, so… that’s a “probably not”.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7712 Copy

    Questioner

    The YA book you were talking about earlier, is that Dark One? That your doing for--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not doing Dark One. I pitched it to them and they decided one of my other pitches they liked better. The Apocalypse Guard... So the Apocalypse Guard is-- So people have started to explore the multiverse and found that there are dimensions in which the planet is doomed to some catastrophe. It's going to extinction event. And the Apocalypse Guard is a group of scientists, soldiers, and experts who save the planet that they have discovered that is doomed. So it's about saving planets.

    zas678

    That sounds very non-cosmere.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's non-cosmere. But you have, if you've been reading non-cosmere books-- there's another non-cosmere book which explores the concept of a multiverse and alternate dimensions. It might be in the same continuity.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7715 Copy

    KalynaAnne

    Chalklings, we know, can catch rides off of Nebrask. If Melody had chalklings on a slate and carried them around, could she give them verbal commands later, after she had made them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will have to find out how her magic works as we progress. Everyone would say "No, that's not possible" but she had done things that are supposedly-- that seem impossible. So what you are proposing is probably likely, probably possible, but it depends on her magic.

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7716 Copy

    KalynaAnne

    So you have circles, or Lines of Warding. If you draw a semi-circle, like if a Rithmatist was backed up against a wall, can just a semi-circle act as a Line of Warding?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It can, but the sides are going to be so weak. I mean they can just go around it, but yes, the semi-circle would work.

    KalynaAnne

    So if you drew a semi-circle, and drew the other half up the wall--

    Brandon Sanderson

    That would be fine.

    KalynaAnne

    Would it be equally strong as if it was all flat on the ground?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would probably-- It would be really hard to get that corner so it would be. In theoretical, magical Christmasland, yes. 'Cause chalklings are two-dimensional, so they don't even see that it's changed really. I mean it does but--

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7717 Copy

    KalynaAnne

    If you drew a Line of Forbiddance on, like, a slate and then you can hold the slate--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Moving stuff around starts playing with things. So I'm going to say, I will deal with that in the next book but it doesn't work how you want it to work.

    KalynaAnne

    Okay, I'll accept that answer.

    Brandon Sanderson

    For logistical reasons, when I was building the magic, I was "Ehhh, we've got to not have this be possible."

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7721 Copy

    FeatherWriter

    At the Words of Radiance signing, I asked you what Renarin's eye color was. You said if there wasn't one in the wiki, you would canonize one for me. Peter has said there is not a color in the wiki.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not a color in the wiki, okay.

    FeatherWriter

    Fan art has used blue--

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're going to get this in.

    FeatherWriter

    --and blue is my favorite color.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh is it?

    FeatherWriter

    So if you need a color--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Alright Renarin's eyes are blue. *cheers*

    Shadows of Self release party ()
    #7722 Copy

    Chaos

    How accurate would you say the northern continent on the Sycla map is? Is it horribly inaccurate?

    Isaac Stewart

    This map has severe deficiencies, especially in the northwest.

    Chaos

    Is there any reason why the cities seem to be on the borders?

    Isaac Stewart

    Seem to be where?

    Chaos

    On the borders, or coastline, like literally all of them.

    Isaac Stewart

    So Brandon can tell me if I'm wrong on this, but normally at the level of technology we're at in this world you've got to have cities near water. That's really what it is. Early cities are almost always near a source of water.

    Chaos

    And so the rivers are just the borders?

    Isaac Stewart

    Yeah. I mean we have the rivers that come in through the border in some places but rivers also are just a great border between places. Especially when there is-- when you're not building bridges over all of them. I will tell you... I won't answer what's going on up here.

    Chaos

    Is it really this enclosed though? Like it's pretty enclosed?

    Isaac Stewart

    It's pretty enclosed. This right here is pretty distorted, I will tell you that. And I made it look bigger than it is...

    Eric, we will eventually release a more correct map.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7724 Copy

    Volratho (paraphrased)

    Humans on Scadrial have Investiture of both Preservation and Ruin inside of them.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes.

    Volratho (paraphrased)

    Feruchemically, does storing Investiture in Nicrosil store this connection to Ruin/Preservation/Harmony?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    You are on the right track, and asking the right questions but RAFO.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7726 Copy

    botanicaxu

    Do you know the general skin tone and hair color of the Thaylen people? Because there seems to be few descriptions in the books. And how exactly long are their eyebrows? (Fan art problems, sorry.)

    Ben McSweeney

    No idea about Thaylen skin tones, if the text doesn't state it clearly then I guess it's open to discussion. With the eyebrows, I'd think the length varies depending on age and care. The Thaylen riding the chull in the first book has brow-fans that look to be near a foot long. I'm not sure if that's above average, but I'd think there's probably some upper range determined by sheer practicality. Though I don't think they have to fan out, they could be braided or beaded... really, this is a /u/mistborn question.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7727 Copy

    botanicaxu

    Could you give us some clues about how the two lines of buttons on Vorin havah actually look like? I find it hard to imagine correctly. (When designing this costume, has Brandon got some in-world reference?)

    Ben McSweeney

    The cut of a havah is similar to a cheongsam through the torso, with full sleeves and skirts falling from the hips. Beneath the slitted outer skirt are many thin layers like fine silk which interweave to create a sort of accordion effect. This would (I think?) allow the dress to fall at a sharp angle from the hip when still, while expanding to allow a full range of leg movement. The buttons run from the throat down to the waist, following a line from the jaw down to the collarbone, curving out to follow the bust and then down the line of the torso. I don't think there's a rule for the number of buttons, but when in doubt remember that "10" is significant to the culture. Frog buttons are legit, I think.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7729 Copy

    botanicaxu

    How is the illustrating process for Stormlight 3 going? Is there any new guest artist? Will we see more new species/fashion pages/character depictions? I remember a WoB saying that there's a plan for Unkalaki outfit design. Is it still possible?

    Ben McSweeney

    We're still in the early draft process. Almost certainly, but it's not for me to say. Almost definitely/possibly/no idea. If there's an Unkalaki design, it might be slated for Dan.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7733 Copy

    Questioner

    I was curious about the concept of flow, and how the Thrill compares to that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What do you mean? Expand upon that. 

    [clarification]

    So you mean like in the zone, in the moment. The Thrill does overlap with that a little bit, but the Thrill is something distinct. It does give you some of that focus.

    Footnote: The question may have been inspired by the earlier reading of Dalinar's first flashback chapter in Oathbringer where he thinks about momentum in battle.
    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7734 Copy

    JavaPython_

    What is it like to be famous really only because someone else famous hired you? That sounds impersonal, but it kind of feels like that's what happened to me.

    Ben McSweeney

    Nope, I know what you mean. It's a weird place, being on the coattails.

    I try not to give it a lot of thought, really... I trust that I'm the right person for this job, because I bring a unique combination of skills and interests to the table beyond just my ability to render.

    It also helps that Brandon and I started working together before he became the Fantasy Superstar... when I first started drawing for him back in 2008, he had only a handful of novels out, and his part in The Wheel of Time had not yet been the rousing success it eventually was.

    Lastly, I do a lot of work for other clients aside from Brandon, and some of those clients also represent high-profile property like LEGO and Gears of War. If I'm good enough for them, and good enough that they keep coming back and asking me to do more work, I must be doing something right.

    So I try to not fall victim to a sense of Imposter Syndrome. I think I might maybe be good at this stuff, or at least good enough. :)

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7735 Copy

    JavaPython_

    Are you getting to work on White Sand?

    Ben McSweeney

    Sadly, no. I'm not involved with White Sand, but Isaac speaks very highly of the artwork. He keeps promising to show me some of it through internal channels, but I haven't seen it yet.

    I know they're certainly taking their time to do it well, and I'm as excited as anyone to see how it comes out!

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7736 Copy

    RobinWishesHeWasMe_

    Do you have any favourites out of the work you've done?

    Ben McSweeney

    I like the Plate and Blades we've designed. The Axehound was a milestone challenge, and the Chasmfiend was one of those where it seemed to be going badly until it started going well... passing through those is always satisfying after the fact.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7737 Copy

    Alteroden

    With [Feruchemical] zinc, you get mental speed. How is that any different from [Feruchemical] steel, except without [physical] speed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think of the mental speed actually turning you into... Let's say you sped up your body, and you wanted to figure out some really complex equations.

    Alteroden

    So it lets you have intuitive leaps.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. It basically turns you into Ken Jennings. That's how I imagine it.

    Kurkistan

    So it's not like bullet time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No... It'll bullet time a little bit, it certainly will, because you're thinking faster than everyone else, but it has applications beyond bullet timing. Bullet time is really--

    Kurkistan

    That’s steel’s thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s kind of steel's thing. They kind of overlap on that one, because the steel thing... But yeah. It's more like "I think fast, but my reaction speed is not sped up".

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7738 Copy

    JavaPython_

    If you have read The Emperor's Soul, what do you think of Forgery as an art form? Is it one that you wish you could use?

    Ben McSweeney

    It's pretty cool, I especially like the stamps... I think they'd be fun to design, just as visual props.

    I'm not sure I'd be a Forger at heart... maybe. I think Brandon's playing around with some concepts regarding reproduction and the essence of content that are highly relevant to modern creative concerns, but that's another conversation altogether.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7739 Copy

    JavaPython_

    Did you have any hand making Aons for the first Elantris book, or preparing some for the second book?

    Ben McSweeney

    No, that's all Isaac Stewart. He's been working with Brandon much longer than I have, and he's responsible for all the maps and icons and symbols and most of the chapter heading illustrations, with the exception of The Rithmatist where I got to do it all.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7740 Copy

    JavaPython_

    Have you made like a map of the whole Cosmere? Like a star chart or something?

    Ben McSweeney

    Nope! That's not something that's been relevant to my tasks up to now. If Brandon wanted something like that, he'd probably go to Isaac first, he's the man with the maps.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7742 Copy

    JavaPython_

    Do you have any drawings of the Cognitive or Spiritual realm that we haven't seen that you can share?

    Ben McSweeney

    Not yet... there's a few doodles somewhere of a black sun against a sea of beads, but they're not even close to comprehensive... a circle over scribbles hardly counts.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7744 Copy

    russki516

    Hey, thanks for doing this!

    My question is how developed are your ideas of what Spren look like and how they behave? I would love to see some illustrations of them in the future.

    Ben McSweeney

    There's some early illustrations of them in the original pitch package, where they look very Miyazaki if I say so myself, but my understanding of them has widened considerably in the time since then.

    I usually envision (and illustrate) them as ghostly, glowing shapes of infinite variety, a lot like the classical interpretation of a hologram. To the best of my understanding, spren appear to be made of stormlight when they're made apparent at all. Some have more detailed features than others, but I don't think any appear solid unless they actually manifest in the Physical Realm, and the only manifestations we know of are Shardblades (living blades have freedom to reshape though, so who knows what that could mean).

    As to their details, if you take the few descriptors that Brandon gives and let your imagination run, you probably can't go wrong... even among the spren, two of the same type might look very different in detail. And an awakened spren has a lot of mutability, Syl is changing shape all the time.

    As with all concepts, the text rules. So angerspren is gonna look like blood-red pools boiling up from the ground, and gloryspren will look like tiny translucent globes of golden light. Brandon wrote it, so that's what it is.

    But you can translate "blood-red pools [of light] boiling up from the ground" in a few creative ways, and any of them might be equally valid. As the Interlude suggests, the appearance of spren is kinda quantum... fluid until/unless observed. I have a lot of fun seeing how creative I can get with the description while making sure I'm staying true to the text.

    Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
    #7745 Copy

    Alteroden

    With Stormlight, the better the gem is cut, the less Stormlight it leaks, and the longer it holds its charge. If a gem was perfectly cut, on a molecular scale, would it leak Stormlight at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In a theoretical flawless gem, then no it would not.

    Alteroden

    Would it actually give off light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    [...] Theoretically no it would not, but it's not what you're thinking...

    Alteroden

    No no no, that’s not what I’m thinking, I figured that’s something totally different.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, actually, it probably would still give off light, because it's drawing out of the Spiritual Realm. So I’d say it still lights, but it doesn't leak. The leaking is not where the illumination is coming from. The illumination is coming from a direct... It's basically a light bulb screwed into the Spiritual Realm.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7746 Copy

    JavaPython_

    What tips would you have for a beginner sketch artist/free hand drawer? How can I improve my illustrations? (I'm left handed, don't know if that'll make a difference or not.) I'm not horrible, I just tend to make large mistakes and since I prefer pen and pencil drawings (in a LOT of colors of ink) I can't really fix it.

    Ben McSweeney

    Being a lefty shouldn't hold you back, I've known plenty of excellent animators and illustrators who work sinister. Biggest hassle I know of is setting up your desktop workspace with hotkeys and all, everything is biased for dexters.

    Gosh, tips... well, practice is the big one, but I know that sounds glib. I think it's true, though, that in order to be successful as an illustrator you need to love the process more than the project or the results... it's as much about doing the thing as seeing and being the thing. Rewards and results are fleeting, but the job is forever. So, you know, it's part of the process to review your work, identify your weaknesses, and seek active solutions.

    I can't emphasize the value of rough layout and structural sketch lines enough... I never go straight to the finish lines, I need those buildup sketches in order to know where the finish inks will go. Even more so when working with real media, where you can't Undo your way out. If you're not applying the classic rules of structural composition, that might go a long way towards helping improve your stuff. My go-to was red pencil, but you can do a lot with a 4H or even an HB with a light hand.

    If you're already doing that, then I'm not sure what to suggest... keep practicing, I guess?

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7749 Copy

    JavaPython_

    I love your work. It really inspires me to improve my drawing. Do you have any rough sketches of Marsh's/Inquisitor/Obligator tattoos? I want to be Marsh for Halloween.

    Ben McSweeney

    I don't, the best image is probably the standing illustration of Marsh in the Adventure Game. In all honesty, they were freehanded on the page, so it was more about a general approximation of shapes than a planned composition of glyphs.

    Ben McSweeney AMA ()
    #7750 Copy

    TheDJ47

    Were you at the Shadows of Self release last night? And what was the hardest drawing to get right?

    Ben McSweeney

    I was not, it wasn't in the cards for me to travel this time. Hopefully I'll make it out for Stormlight 3. :)

    I wasn't, and it blows 'cause Isaac sent me a very awesome photo of a Cryptic Pattern costume and I wish I could've seen it in person. Plus, I like signing and sketching in books :)

    The Axehound was an early challenge to design... it's not easy to make a six-foot dog-lobster look affectionate! The antennae do a lot of the work.

    The Whitespine was an interesting case because I took a design all the way to near-completion before I scrapped it entirely and started again to get the one in the book. I think I like the current one, but I know I hated the one I did the first time.

    TheDJ47

    The Pattern costume was pretty sweet. And your illustrations in Stormlight really helped me visualize many of the... Interesting aspects of Roshar. They are amazing.

    Ben McSweeney

    Thank you! That is, ideally, why we do 'em. :)