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    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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    What Jasnah did, in the first book, with Shallan in the alleyway and what happened at the end of this book... between Adolin and the other character [Sadeas]. Would you put them on the same level? Or would you say that what Adolin did was maybe a little bit darker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say that what Adolin did was less dark, personally... It just depends on your perspective, but personally I say what Adolin did was something that needed to be done and no one else was capable of doing.


    Would you say that it's going to have any ramifications for him down the line? With how it was handled?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh it's definitely—how it's handled, definitely there are ramifications, lots of ramifications. And there are certain characters who would think that what he did is totally, totally, totally wrong.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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    So, Sigzil is Hoid's apprentice.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sigzil claims that Hoid is his master.


    Cool, very cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, you didn't ask me any questions.  You just made a statement.


    Is there anything you can tell us about that?

    Questioner 2

    Is Sigzil a worldhopper?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sigzil is not a worldhopper. Sigzil spent some time with Hoid during one of Hoid's visits.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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    Can you tell me anything about Tension or Cohesion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't truly written these magics in yet, so they might change as I actually write the scenes. But they are... Tension is the ability to take something flexible and make it rigid. Which you think sounds simple, but there are so many cool things you could do with that.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Syl's inspiration came from a lot of different places. I'm not sure if I can point to one thing.  The spren are inspired by Japanese mythology, that everything has a soul. That is the original inspiration for it.  But Syl as a character, I'd been toying with forever, and I think she came about as a counterpoint to Kaladin's darkness; a figure of light that I knew that the story would need.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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    One of the things I love so much about your books are the illustrations and the maps, even though I'm really bad with maps. So I guess I was wondering, do you have a really clear vision in your head for what you want them to be or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on the book. In some cases I do. In some cases I'm more vague and I work with my illustrator through several iterations then decide what we want.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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    I was thinking about the Shardplate in Dalinar's first vision and how it looks different than any other plate now.  Would that be like how Syl could only transform after he said that second round... or was it third round of oaths, so is the Shardplate just like the next set, or would that be a totally different set of...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm totally going to RAFO you.  Look you've got a RAFO.  You are asking good questions.

    Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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    For Feruchemy, can you only inherit that? Or is there another way to get it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, you could obviously get it through a Hemalurgic spike.


    Yeah, but that’s kind of a different thing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is hereditary, but it came from somewhere. Which is a RAFO, but it’s not a big RAFO. There’s not something you missed in the books, or anything like that. It originally came from Preservation long ago. And there are other ways to get it, but you have not missed any major plot points regarding that. Good question.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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    As an English teacher, what inspired you to be a fantasy writer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was inspired by the book Dragonsbane which was given to me by an eighth-grade English teacher at Lincoln East High School, who was convinced I was reading below my level and felt I needed to be stepping up my game a little bit. And she took me to the back of the room and had me browse on her little shelf of books that she'd read, that she'd recommend to me. And that book worked for me.  It probably shouldn't have - it's about a middle-aged woman having a midlife crisis - but I loved it.

    Brandon's Blog 2017 ()
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    Karen Ahlstrom

    I knew I'd have to deal with it sometime, and it finally caught up with me today. My Master Cosmere Timeline spreadsheet has far too many relative dates, and not enough absolutes.

    Roshar's date system

    The biggest reason I have put it off is that the date system Brandon made up is both supremely logical and at the same time totally crazy. A year has five hundred days, but there's also a thousand-day cycle with different highstorms around the new year. In each year there are ten months of fifty days each. The months are broken into ten five-day weeks. The date indicates what year, month, week of the month, and day of the week it is and looks like this: 1173.8.4.3. It is impossible for me to do the math in my head to decide what the date would be 37 days ago, so I don't use the dates in my reckoning, and only calculate them as an afterthought. This dating system is also a hassle because two weeks in our world is almost three weeks there, and a month there is almost two of ours, and when writing Brandon doesn't even pretend to pay attention to those differences.

    Day numbers in The Way of Kings

    But then we have to talk about my relative date system. The timeline of The Way of Kings is a mess. The story for Shallan starts more than 100 days earlier than Dalinar's storyline. And Kaladin is roughly 50 days different from that. So for that book I had to pick a day when I knew there was crossover between the viewpoints and work forward and back from there. So a date in The Way of Kings might be marked on my spreadsheet as D 23 or K-57.

    Day numbers in Words of Radiance and Oathbringer

    For Words of Radiance I started over at day 1 for that book. Those numbers count up until the new year which is day 71. Oathbringer starts just after the new year, so I used the day of the year for my book-specific day number. Of course switching systems at the start of each book made it hard for me to calculate just how many days there were between events in WOR and OB. So I put in another column which indicated a relative number of days counting before and after the arbitrary date of the end of WOR.

    Flashback dates

    The next problem I dealt with were the line items that say something like "five years ago" for their date. With more than a year of onscreen time from the first chapters of The Way of Kings to the end of Oathbringer, it's really necessary to note that it's five years before what event with a solid date. Once I have a date to assign to it, I also have to decide how exact the date is. When I come back three years from now I will need to know whether this date is firm, or if it would be okay to put it three or four months on either side.

    Putting it all together

    When Peter found an error in the spreadsheet one day, I decided to match a serial number to each date after the year 1160 (which makes for easy calculating), and make that my absolute day number from here until forever (though I'll probably still make a book relative date, since it's a useful way to talk about things with the rest of the team). To find the Roshar dates from the serial numbers I made another spreadsheet with a vlookup table for the dates and serial numbers, then translated all the dates from the three books into that single new system (finding several more errors as I went).


    Brandon's Blog 2017 ()
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    Karen Ahlstrom

    I just finished the timeline for Oathbringer, and thought you might like to hear about the process. (Spoiler warning: There may be tidbits of information in this article about the plot of Oathbringer, but I have specifically made up many of the examples I use, so you can't count on any of it as fact.)

    I know that some of you think, "Brandon posted that he had finished writing Oathbringer months ago. Why do we have to wait until November before it's on the shelf at the bookstore?" This is a natural question. I asked it myself years ago when I heard similar news about a Harry Potter book. The timeline is one small part of the reason, but it will give you a small glimpse of what is going on at a frantic pace here at Dragonsteel trying to get the book ready to go to press.

    You may know that I'm Brandon's continuity editor. I keep records of every character, place, spren, and piece of clothing to name just a few. The next time a person appears, I make sure they have the right eye color and eat the right kind of food. There's so much more to it than that, but it gives you an idea of the level of detail I try to be on top of.

    Another thing I track is the timeline of each book. I have a massive spreadsheet called the Master Cosmere Timeline (I can hear some of you salivating right now, and no, I won't let you peek at certain corners of it).

    In some of Brandon's books, there are a few main characters who spend most of their time together in the same place. For those books, the timeline is simple. Take The Bands of Mourning for instance. It's about four days long. Nobody goes off on a side quest. The timeline only takes up 32 lines in the spreadsheet because there are that many chapters. On the other hand, the current spreadsheet for the Stormlight books has over 1100 lines.

    Here's a sample of the timeline spreadsheet. The white columns are the dates, which I have an entirely separate post about. In column F we have an event that happens in the book. Column E tells how long it has been since the last event. Then I have the quote from the book that I used to justify the timing, the chapter the quote appears in, and whether the event happened on the day of the chapter, or sometime in the past or future.

    The timeline for Oathbringer starts on day 4 of the new year, and ends on day 100. (Which, for those of you who keep track of such things, makes the date 1174.2.10.5). My day count could change by a day or two here and there, but I'm pretty happy with how I got the different groups of people to all end up in the same place at the same time.

    Why bother? Well, sometimes Brandon writes a flashback and someone is looking at a cute baby. It's important to tell Brandon that this particular kid wasn't born for another four years. A character might think to themselves, "It's been a month and a half since I was there," and though it has been 45 days, a month on Roshar is 50 days long, so it hasn't even been a single month. Brandon often glosses over those conversions in early drafts.

    The most important purpose, though, comes when two groups of characters are apart for some length of time. Let's take Kaladin and Dalinar in The Way of Kings. Kaladin was running bridges for battles where Dalinar and Sadeas cooperated. Were there the same number of days in Kaladin's viewpoint between those battles as there were in Dalinar's viewpoint? The answer is no. I was assigned this job after that book was finished, and as much as we squashed and fudged, there is still a day or two unaccounted for. An interesting tidbit from The Way of Kings‘ timeline is that Kaladin's timeline has 50 days in it before Dalinar's starts. Chapter 40, when Kaladin recovers from being strung up in the storm, is the same day as the chasmfiend hunt in Chapter 12.

    Going back to Oathbringer, sometimes I'm amazed at the power I have. As I go through the manuscript, I can take a sentence like, "He spent four days recovering," and simply replace the word four with two. Brandon gives me a general idea of how long he wants things to take, and I tell him what it needs to be to fit. It's a big responsibility, and sometimes I worry that I'll mess the whole thing up.

    Oathbringer is the first book in the Stormlight series where I worked with a list of the storms from the start. Peter tried on Words of Radiance, but Brandon wrote what the story needed and expected us to fit the storms in around that (A perfectly reasonable process, even if it makes my job trickier). In Oathbringer though, the Everstorm and highstorm are each on a much stricter schedule. We need such exact timing in some scenes that Peter (with help from beta reader Ross Newberry) made me a calculator to track the hour and minute the storms would hit any given city.

    Yet another thing we needed to calculate is travel time. How fast can a Windrunner fly? How many days does it take to march an army from here to there? Kaladin might be able to do a forced march for a week, but what about Shallan or Navani? How long could they manage 30 miles a day?

    Hopefully now you can see why we've needed months of work to get this far, and will need months more to get it finished in time. At some point, we're just going to have to call it good and turn the book over to the printer, but even though you think you want to get your hands on it now, it will be a much better read after we have the kinks worked out.

    TWG Posts ()
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    Miyabi (paraphrased)

    While talking with EUOL today I had asked about Hoid being Midius from Partinel. 

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He said he had many names, but avoided a yes or no answer.

    Miyabi (paraphrased)

    I then asked if Hoid was a shard.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He said no and then said something about how no one has read the end of Partinel due to its not being written well and the plethora of spoilers it contains. . . .

    He then told me that Hoid was there when Adonalsium was shattered.

    TWG Posts ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin has a nickname, in a way. Valette. Part of my vision for this series was to get across the 'heist' feel to the book by giving everyone in the crew or related to the crew two names--their real name and their nickname.

    Kelsier: Kel

    Dockson: Dox

    Sazed: Saze (I say his name SAY-zed, by the way. A lot of people say SAH-zed, which is just fine--only the nickname doesn't work as well.)

    Elend: El (I say EHL-end, not EEL-end. So, his nickname is pronounced simply like the letter L.)

    Ladrian: Breeze

    Hammond: Ham

    Cladent: Clubs

    Lestibournes: Spook

    Marsh: Ironeyes

    Vin: Valette (Doesn't work as well, I know, but I liked her having another name to keep on theme.)

    OreSeur: Lord Renoux

    TWG Posts ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Also note that while Mare was an Allomancer, she wasn't what one would call a "dangerous" Allomancer. She was a Tineye, which isn't one of the top tier martial powers. She couldn't have used atium, and even if she HAD somehow found [tin], she'd simply have been able to hear and see better. Which would have made her better at finding the atium.

    The Allomancers to keep out of the Pits would have been Lurchers or Coinshots (who could have destroyed the crystals), and to a lesser extent Thugs (who could be difficult to control.) Mistborn, of course, needed to be kept far, far away, lest they get their hands on atium.

    There's more going on here, of course. If I ever write the Kelsier short story that talks about him discovering the Eleventh Metal, I will get into why the Inquisitors weren't given Mare as they wanted. The Lord Ruler specifically chose to send her to the Pits rather than handing her over to the Inquisitors. (Note: She wouldn't have ended up on a hook. Inquisitors had other...uses for skaa Mistings they captured. See book three.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    I can't say too much without spoilers for Mistborn 3, but suffice it to say that if I were to write more books in this world, I would want to do some new things with the magic. Some events at the end of Mistborn 3 have large ramifications on the way the magic works and the way the setting would proceed.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    This one got introduced late in the editing process as I was shuffling around several plots. In the original, way back planning stages of the series, Clubs was going to be a Seeker and Marsh a Smoker. I swapped that, but I've NEVER been able to shake it from my subconscious. Kind of like the way that Tin used to be Silver. (I worry about getting that one mixed up in places too.)

    Arterial Spray

    Huh. Was Clubs going to be the one who became a Steel Inquisitor?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it was always going to be Marsh who did that job. I actually made the swap because I realized I couldn't send the Smoker away from the team to infiltrate. I actually added that plot line a little bit later in the development process. These were all things I changed before I even started the first page of actual writing.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it's looking like my next series--after Warbreaker, which is looking like it will be a two-book cycle--will be set in the Dragonsteel world. I'm revamping the setting significantly, mashing it together with Aether of Night, which always had a cool magic system but a weaker plot.

    I have some sample chapters done, actually. Dragonsteel is now the series name, and the first book will be titled "The Liar of Partinel." (Probably.) The book you all read (now tentatively titled "The Eternal War") will be the third or fourth book in the series, and we will wait that long to introduce Jerick, Ryalla, and Bat'Chor. "Liar" will take place some five hundred years before "The Eternal War."

    Brandon Sanderson

    The following is a complete Brandon Sanderson Bibliography, published and unpublished.  Prime indicates an early attempt at a book which was later redone.  (Note that when I redo a book like this, it isn't a 'rewrite.'  Generally, it's me taking some elements from the setting and writing a whole new book in that setting, using old ideas and mixing them with fresh ones.)  Published books are in bold.

    1) White Sand Prime (My first book, took two + years to write.  1998)

    2) Star's End (Science fiction.  1998)

    3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime.  1999)

    4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.  1999)

    5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Science fiction.  1999)

    6) Elantris (2000.  Published by Tor: 2005)

    7) Dragonsteel (2000)

    8 ) White Sand (2001)

    9) Mythwalker (Never finished. 2001)

    10) Mistborn Prime (Stole the magic system and title for a later book.  2002)

    11) Final Empire Prime (Stole a character, some setting elements, and title for a later book.  2002)

    12) The Aether of Night (2002)

    13) The Way of Kings (350,000 words.  Took a long time.  2003)

    14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (2004, Published by Tor 2006)

    15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (2005.  Contracted to Tor for 2006)

    16) Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians (2005.  Contracted to Scholastic for 2006)

    17) Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (2006.  Contracted to Tor for 2007)

    18) Warbreaker (2006.  Tentatively to be released by Tor for 2007)

    19) Alcatraz vs. The Scrivener's Bones (2006.  Contracted by Scholastic for 2008)

    20) Dragonsteel: The Liar of Partinel (Unfinished.  2007?)

    21) Alcatraz vs. The Knights of Crystallia (Planned.  2007  Contracted by Scholastic for 2009)

    22) Nightblood (Planned.  2008)

    23) Dragonsteel: The Lightweaver of Rens (Planned. 2008)

    24) Alcatraz vs. The Dark Talent (Planned.  2008.  Contracted for Scholastic for 2010)

    I'm not sure if I got all of those dates right, but the order is correct.  I'm finished with all the books up to Dragonsteel, though Mistborn 3, Warbreaker, and Alcatraz 2 are all only in the third draft stage.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You DON'T have to have read the other Dragonsteel to understand this. The other Dragonsteel will never be published. Some of the plots and characters in it, however, will eventually become book three of this series. Not because I'm doing a 'Dragonlance' type thing, but because when I sat down to work on this project, I realized that I'd rather start back in time a few hundred years. In other words, I'm writing the prequels first, if that's possible.

    Brandon Sanderson

    In worldbuilding this, I realized that I missed a big opportunity in Dragonsteel Prime by not dealing with fainlife all that much. It was a powerful world element that got mostly ignored. By writing a book here, where I can slam a city in to the middle of the fain assault--before people learned really how to keep the alien landscape back--I think I'll be able to focus more on the setting.

    One thing that always bothered me about Dragonsteel Prime is that it felt rather generic for me. I like more distinctive settings, with more distinctive magics. Yet, Dragonsteel Prime had a fairly standard fantasy world (though one set in the bronze age) with magic that didn't really get used all that much in the first book. The idea here is to add the Aether magic in, which is a 'day-to-day' magic, and to enhance the originality of the setting by using fainlife more. Microkenisis, Realmatic Theory, Cognitive Ripples and Tzai Blows, and all of that will STILL be part of this world. I've simply folded the Aethers in as well, and hopefully I can make it all feel cohesive.

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    I'm overjoyed to hear that you're probably doing a sequel to Elantris. I was wondering, though, if you plan to discuss anything further about the religions you mention less in the book. I think both Jesker and the Jeskeri Mysteries receive too little attention for how interesting they could be. It would be interesting if we got to learn more about the origins/tenets of both. It's rankled ever since the first time I read the book that something which seems so significant as Jesker is left so undeveloped.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, actually. I want to focus more on Jesker, and the Mysteries, as well as the original religion that spawned both Shu-Dereth and Shu-Korath.

    Jesker is very important, as you have noticed, since it's the religion tied to understanding the Dor. It's actually much older than the other religions, relating back to things that happened long ago. Because of this, it retains hints of things such as the origin of the Seons and the like.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Each of the characters is a little autobiographical, mostly noticeable in retrospect. Raoden represents my belief in the power of optimism. I'm an optimist. I can't help it; it's just the way I am. And so, a hero like Raoden often grows to represent my beliefs. His conflict--that of being cast into the most horrific place in the kingdom--is an outgrowth of me trying to devise the most hopeless situation I could, and then make the conflict for my character the attempt to retain hopeful in the face of that.

    Sarene represents an amalgamation of several people I knew in my life, most notably Annie Gorringe, a friend of mine in college. Not that Sarene acts just like her, of course--but that some of the conflicts in Annie's life, mixed with some of her personality quirks, inspired me to develop a character that ended up in my book.

    Hrathen is as much a piece of me as Raoden. I served a mission for the LDS church, and while I did so, I thought often about the 'right' way to share one's beliefs mixed with the 'wrong' way. It seemed to me that focusing on the beauty of your message, mixed with the needs of the individuals you met, was the way to go. When you start to preach just to be preaching--or to convert not because of your concern for those around you, but because you want to seem more powerful--you risk beating the life out of your own message.

    So, in a way, Hrathen represents my fears of what I could have become--a warning to myself, if you will.

    TWG Posts ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    First off, no, I didn't base any of the religions in Elantris on any real religions. Shu-Dereth STARTED as the Norse religion when I was worldbuilding. I wanted to take a Norse-style religious feel, then transform it into monotheism over time. However, there wasn't a strict parallel with modern religion. The basis for how all three religions ended up was more Eastern in concept, but again, I didn't use a single religion to focus any of them.

    I did take a few things from other religions. For instance, I liked how a lot of modern religions sprang from the same root. Buddhism came from Hinduism, and Christianity was a growth from Judaism. The aggressive Derethi religion was a little bit more like religions that have a convert or die philosophy--but, from my research, that concept has been used in pretty much every major religion at one point and time.

    I do worry that people will see Derethi and think of a specific religion. Indeed, since I based Hrathen on what I saw as 'Evil missionary tactics' one could easily relate him to churches that do send out missionaries. This wasn't my intention, however.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Lots of Female Keepers (one of the main characters in book two is one), no female Inquisitors or obligators (since the Lord Ruler was pretty much in charge of who got to do both.) However, there weren't actually hard fast rules, so I could see a determined woman ending up in the Steel Ministry if she put her mind to it.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The longest lasting of the Allomantic metals is actually copper, which is used by Smokers to hide Allomancy. Tin is second, however. Steel and Iron are actually rather quick, but since they're generally used in bursts, it's hard to notice. Both brass and zinc are medium, as is bronze. Pewter burns the fastest of the basic eight, though atium and gold both burn faster than it does.

    In my mind, it's related to how much 'work' the metal has to do. That's why pewter, steel, and iron burn so quickly. A lot of weight and power is getting thrown around, while copper only has to do something simple. However, I never really set any of these things hard-fast.

    And, only atium is really all that rare. Because of the value of the metals, the noble houses expended a lot of resources finding and exploiting mines to produce the metals. This resulted in a slightly higher value for most of them as opposed to our world, but not really noticeably so, because Allomancers really don't need that much metal. Even fast burning metals, like pewter, are generally only swallowed in very small amounts. (i.e. A small bit goes a long way.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    A note for those who read Ookla's post above, and might be curious. The characters of Vivenna and Siri are ones that have been bouncing around in my head for quite a while. I made one attempt at a book using them, back about five years ago or so.

    Unfortunately for the two of them, the rest of the elements of that book (particularly the person I chose as a hero, the magic system, and...well, a lot of things) just kind of fell apart. It's my only true failure of a book, made more tragic by the fact that Siri's story was working so well.

    So, I decided that I'd give it another shot, reworking the two characters into a plot where they could be more of the focus, and where the setting and story were better thought out. (I've learned a few things in the intervening years.)

    I never did finish the original book, which was titled MYTHWALKER. So, the people who knew me at the time were left hanging as to what happened to the characters.

    I intend to finish it this time! Ookla, you've got the right of it still. Susebron will be virtually the same character I imagined in MYTHWALKER> I don't want to give spoilers to the others, but if you watch closely, you'll see how I'm going to work things out.

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    Peter Ahlstrom

    Dark One. What is it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    YA novel I'm working on. I have a few sample chapters, if you want them. I may have to change the title, though, since a very dissimilar book just came out with a close title.

    I'd rather not talk about the book too much, since I won't be able to get to it for a while, and I'd like to keep the ideas off the internet for a bit.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, anyone here can have the sample chapters if they want. In fact, anyone can have sample chapters of any of my books. I send those out pretty freely. I'm just not sure I want to go posting the ideas for this one about yet.

    Also, if anyone wants any of my old books--anything pre-WAY OF KINGS--you need but ask. Most of them won't ever get published in their current form. So, if you're ever board, you can read an old, unpublished Brandon novel.

    The complete Brandon Library is:

    1) White Sand Prime (My first Fantasy Novel)

    2) Star's End (Short, alien-relations sf novel.)

    3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime)

    4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.)

    5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Far future sf involving immortal warriors)

    6) Elantris (You have to buy this one!)

    7) Dragonsteel (My most standard epic fantasy)

    8) White Sand (Complete rewrite of the first attempt)

    9) Mythwalker (Unfinished at about 600 pages. Another more standard epic fantasy.)

    10) Aether of Night (Stand-Alone fantasy. A little like Elantris.)

    11) Mistborn Prime (Eventually stole this world.)

    12) Final Empire Prime (Cannibalized for book 14 as well.)

    13) The Way of Kings (Fantasy War epic. Coming in 2008 or 2009)

    14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Coming June 2006)

    15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Early 2007)

    16) Alcatraz Initiated (YA Fantasy. Being shopped to publishers)

    17) Mistborn: Hero of Ages (Unfinished. Â Coming late 2007)

    18) Dark One (Unfinished. YA fantasy)

    19) Untitled Aether Project (Two sample chapters only.)

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    Peter Ahlstrom

    These pronunciations are pretty hard to say and don't make much sense internally! How do you pronounce "en" at the end of "Raoden" and "is" it the end of Elantris and "Sa-" at the beginning of "Sarene"? Is it Ray-oh-deen and Ee-lain-trice and Say-ray-nay? Or is it "-en" (as in "end" with no "d") and "-triss" (rhymes with "kiss") and "Suh-" (front rhymes with "Samantha")? Or Because if it's "-en" and "-triss" and "Suh-" then these pronunciations are not allowed by your AEIO rules, and if it's "-deen" and "-trice" and "Say-" then your listed pronunciations are not helpful.

    Spelling some "a" sound with "e" instead also throws a wrench into the whole thing. Basically, the fact that you felt the need to do that should have been an indication to you that there were issues with the system to start out with, and that regular English speakers and especially Fantasy readers would just not automatically pronounce your names close to the way you meant them to be pronounced.

    I will hopefully comment later, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to base a language around the just 4 long vowels A E I O (which are pronounced, phonetically, "ei ii ai ou"). It looks like there are some problems in implementation though.

    Eagle Prince

    I thought that only applied to the Aons. The different names and words, ie Raoden, is only part Aon... the other half is like a totally different language. Sort of like a pidgen language combines two different languages into is own sort of language, and can eventually turn into a whole new language (creole). I think that is what happened here....

    I would need to reread the article, but I think it also mentioned something about only the first so many vowels being long and the rest normal. That or just the vowels that dealt with the Aon part of the word.

    I also think the 'ae' thing is pretty common in fantasy.

    Brandon Sanderson


    You're missing the long/short combination. (EP has it exactly right.)

    The Aon has long vowels, the rest of the word has short. Maybe I need to make that more explicit. However, reading it, it makes sense to me.

    So, RAY-Oh-den would be pronounced, I think, exactly as I wrote it there. Two long--for the Aon--one short, for the non-Aon.

    As for the 'A' exception, it was done out of necessity. You see, the truth is that I was creating a language to accent my novel, not the other way around. So, when it came down to writing a name like 'Sarene,' I just couldn't force myself to write it the way that looked worse, just to make the language feel a little more consistent. (There was no physical way to make the name on the page sound like the one in my head without writing something very silly, like Saraynay or Saraenae.)

    I think that people in the world would pronounce her name, therefore, as "Sa-REE-Nee," as I pointed out in the article. However, I'm still going to pronounce it how I want, because I'm an English speaker, not an Aonic speaker. Just like I call Korea 'Korea,' instead of 'Kor-ryo' (or even Hanguk) as would be correct.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    I intentionally left seons--their origin, their connection to AonDor--a little vague in ELANTRIS. The reason for this is that I intend the secrets of the Seons to be a major plot element in a sequel to the book.

    I didn't want to put very much about them in because I knew that it would be years before I got to do an ELANTRIS sequel, and I wanted to give myself enough 'wiggle room' to not confine the second book, which isn't fully formed in my head yet. Anything I say now could ruin the plot for people before I even write the book--or, it could end up being untrue, as I develop my ideas further.

    Eagle Prince

    Can they go through walls? Are they incorporeal like a ghost? I'm guessing they can't move stuff around, because Ashe says something about the Elantrians wanting him to bring them food but he couldn't. And then when Serene was on the wall, he just shouted at her, like he couldn't just knock her back or anything. But then several times it talked about them going through windows, and some of the Elantrian seons bouncing around like drunks.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question, EP.

    I answer this in the text just briefly, but it doesn't come up a whole lot. At one point, Raoden's mad Seon tries to float through a wall, and he bounces off of it. I wished to imply that they did have substance, but they were very light, and therefore unable to exert any great amounts of force.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    This is for both those of you who've read MISTBORN and those who haven't.

    In the first book, you'll notice that I named two of the three magic systems present in the world. The primary name, which I'm quite satisfied with, is Allomancy.

    Sazed's power is the one I'm considering changing. It is called Hemalurgy. Now, I like the way this sounds. However, it doesn't quite fit in meaning with Sazed's powers. (The Hema, which should evoke thoughts of 'blood' has rightly drawn complaints from readers.)

    However, Hemalurgy DOES fit quite well with the third (mostly unmentioned magic system) used by the Steel Inquisitors.

    So, I'd like to rename Sazed's magic system. Here are my thoughts.

    Ferrachemy. I like the sound and construction of this one--it fits with the other two, and seems to relate well to Sazed's powers. The only problem is that I think it's too easy to read as "Ferr-Alchemy," which just doesn't feel right to me.

    Ferruchemy. The word I'm drawing the 'Ferr' from anyway is Latin for iron, which is Ferrum. So, this is truer to my source, but it just doesn't sound as good to me.

    Ferrichemy. I'm not sure if I like the way this one looks or not.

    Ferrochemy. Perhaps where I'm leaning right now.

    Anyone else have any suggestions? I like the traditional-science feel endings of things like 'mancy, 'lurgy, 'chemy. I also like beginnings that relate somehow to metals, as those are used so prevalently in the magic.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I just want to say thanks to everyone who has helped me with this one.

    Ones I particularly liked:

    Auronomy was VERY cool sounding. However, I'm worried about having two 'A' words for the magic. (Still debating this one.)

    Ferramy also had me for a time. The only problem is that I really want something that has the same 'feel' as the other two magic systems.  This doesn't quite resonate right.

    Sangrimancy is also very cool sounding.  The only problem is that I don't really need another 'blood' related magic system. Skar--I stored this one away for potential use in another world. 

    However, I think Jade has really had the best suggestion on the thread. Dropping the second 'R' from the Ferr prefix makes it work a lot better with things. And, to avoid the 'feral' reference Stacer noticed, I think using the original Latin 'u' with the 'Fer' gets us a better word.

    So, the current winner:

    Feruchemy. It isn't actually the coolest sounding word on the thread--I think that's a tie between Auronomy and Sangrimancy. However, Feruchemy 'Fits' better with Allomancy and Hemalurgy. The three have a kind of internal resonance, and give the right feel.

    Thanks all!

    Now, another task. These three are all active arts--something done, rather than simply a study. I'd like, however, a good name for the blanket term for the study of all three magic systems. A name for the system of the world, rather than the specific magical applications of this system.

    All three systems use metal in different ways, and all three draw power for the user from different places. Any clever ideas? (Initial thoughts for me include using 'ology.' However, I'm not opposed to something longer, like I used in DRAGONSTEEL. (Realmatic Theory, for those of you who haven't read it.))

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    Peter Ahlstrom

    How long did it take to write Mistborn from reconception to the end of the first draft? Was that all on off time or did you start when school was still going?

    Shelving Climb the Sky for now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    MISTBORN: Began preliminary work in December 2003. Began writing beginning of February. Finished mid-June.

    CLIMB THE SKY: I'm probably going to have to shelve it for a year or so. I might slip it in between MISTBORN 2 and MISTBORN 3, but Tage keeps telling me that I just need to write a sequel.

    I agree, and so I'm going for MISTBORN 2. I actually wrote ten pages or so prose for the first chapter, though writing will be slower until I get all of my preliminary work done.

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    Peter Ahlstrom

    The round map [in Mistborn: The Final Empire] makes it look like it takes place over a that intentional?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, actually. Though, when we put a map in the book, we'd probably fuzz the edges so we don't have to deal with that. However, after what the Lord Ruler did to the world to try and stop the Deepness, the only habitable parts on the planet are the poles.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Lately, I've been thinking about the different 'models' that writers seem to use when planning their series.

    The Jordan Model: One continuous story that's done when (if) you get to the end.

    The Eddings Model: One continuous story divided into a pre-determined number of books.

    The Bujold/Card Model: More episodic story centered around the life of a single, interesting character.

    The McCaffery Model: Episodic series with a general over-arching storyline, different books focusing on different viewpoint characters in the same world.

    Now, so far I've always followed the Eddings or the Jordan model in my planned sequels. However, I've been thinking that I'd really like to launch a McCaffery style series. It would let me do what I like--develop new cultures and magics in every novel--yet at the same time give me the market benefit of a cohesive 'series.'

    Thoughts? (I'm thinking of using the AETHER OF NIGHT world as a launching point for this series, in case you were wondering.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's the thing: I've got this world idea (already have one book written in the setting) which involves a lot of different magical powers based on the same theme.

    I think it would be nice to write a lot of books in the same world, but to have sub-series of them focusing on a given society (i.e., a given magic.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, folks. If you've been paying attention to the other thread I started here today, I've been working on a new series schema. I need a title for the overarching series, however.

    I've been thinking of calling the series "The Aethers of Lore," with 'Lore' being the world name.

    I'm not sure if I like this, though. I like 'Lore' because of the way it sounds, not necessarily because of its dictionary meaning. I've tried other iterations of the same sound, but none of them quite work. Lorr doesn't look right on the page, I think, and Lorre makes me think it should be pronounced 'Lory,' like the actor.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wish I could get away with a sub-series name. ... Perhaps something like


    The Aethers of Lore:

    Aether of Wind Trilogy, Book One.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hum. I think I'll just go with 'Lor.' Sounds right, and I didn't Google any major fantasy series' that use the word. Can anyone think of a conflict?

    As for CLIMB THE SKY--well, we'll see. I'm growing more and more attached to it. The story is, however, about flying magic, so I don't think that--in context--it will be as cheesy as one might originally assume without a cover or jacket blurb.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so here's the thing. I want to write a sequel to ELANTRIS someday--or, at least, I want to leave myself open to the possibility.

    The first book is named after the city of Elantris, where most of the action takes place. The sequel, set ten years after the first book, will take place in the capitol city of the prime antagonists in the series. For cohesion, this book should probably be named after that city.

    So, here's the problem. Usually I have months and months to settle on a book title, and I'm usually pretty happy with what I get. However, I don't have an opportunity to write the book this time before I name it. I mention the city that will be the title of the next book several times in ELANTRIS. I have to make certain I really like this city name now, since I'll probably name a book after it sometime in the future.

    So, I've been digging for ideas. The country the book will take place in is called 'Fjorden.' As you might guess from that name, the dialectical genre of the culture is a Scandinavian spin-off. (It's kind of a guttural Norse--Scandinavian with some harsh Germanic sounds thrown in.)

    Other words in the language:

    Hrathen, Dilaf, Arteth, Dakhor, Grondkest, Svorden

    I need a name for the new city that would work well as a book title (i.e., it needs to be fairly easy to pronounce, and needs to sound cool) but that still fits with the linguistic style of the region.

    Here are some I've come up with so far. What do you think of these? Which is your favorite? Which don't you like?

    Zinareth, Widor, Velding, Klynair, Valinrath, Skaln, Vallensha, Vallinor

    Brandon Sanderson

    The original (in-text) name of the city was 'Widor.' Back then, however, I wasn't thinking of a sequel.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    ELANTRIS and WHITE SAND have what I would call 'flawless' heroes. DRAGONSTEEL and AETHER OF NIGHT have mostly flawless heroes, with their internal issues being only minor parts of the plot. These four have, from what people have told me, are generally their favorite books of mine.

    WAY OF KINGS, MISTBORN (version 1), and FINAL EMPIRE all have heroes with serious emotional or psychological issues that they're dealing with. KINGS is the most daunting of these, with each of the major characters having their own personal 'thing' that they are working through in the book. MISTBORN (version 2) is similar to this (though none of you have read it yet.)

    These three books have received mixed reactions. While many people claim to like them, I'm not sure that they enjoyed them as much as the previous set.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    This book is kind of a 're-envisioning' of Mistborn. The first Mistborn version I wrote had this absolutely amazing world and magic system, but the characters were very weak and the plot was so-so. Even as I finished it, I knew it would need a revision.

    Then, later, I wrote Final Empire--the book I finished when our writing group finally dissolved. This book had much better characters, but the world/magic was very weak.

    As I finished WAY OF KINGS (back in November of 2003) I began to fiddle with new potential projects. I began outlining WAY OF KINGS 2, but I knew that KINGS itself was likely to undergo some major revisions, and I wasn't quite sure where the characters would be for the beginning of the second book. So, I decided to delay writing that. I also fiddled with an ELANTRIS sequel, but I wasn't certain Tor wanted one of those or not.

    As I worked, the idea of a MISTBORN rewrite tempted me more and more. I had another idea for a cool plot, and was intending to develop it into its own book, but it didn't have characters or a setting yet. It occurred to me that the MISTBORN setting would work very well, especially if I borrowed some characters and concepts from FINAL EMPIRE.

    In the end, after a few months of planning, the three pieces--MISTBORN magic and Setting, FINAL EMPIRE characters and politics, and the new plot--clicked together very nicely. I was extremely pleased with the results, since MISTBORN and FINAL EMPIRE are the two books I've written that I was the most disappointed in. This project would give me the opportunity to redeem the original ideas from both stories, and improve on them.

    I called the resulting book MISTBORN: FINAL EMPIRE out of Homage, though "Mistborn" is the title I expect to stick (instead of the subtitle, kind of ala Star Wars: A New Hope.) Time, and reads from my writing groups and friends, will tell me if my experiment was a success or not.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    How much [Writing Preparation] do you do? What files do you create?

    I've done it various ways. Usually I have an 'outline' document for plots, a 'character' document for characters, and a 'world' document for magic systems and things.

    Sometimes, the preparatory documents are only a couple dozen pages. (Elantris.) Sometimes they're hundreds of pages long. (Dragonsteel, Way of Kings.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I'm entering a portion of my current book [Mistborn] where I have to devise a lot of names. Anyone want a Cameo? I could throw in something close to your name, or perhaps a version of one of your usernames, if you wish. Firstcomers get speaking parts.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, Lord Rian Strobe just got added to the book. He's even got a line! (He asks a young lady to dance.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    OutKast: Elariel is a good fantasy name--won't have any problems with that.

    Tekiel: Can probably use that one straight-up, if you want.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, 'House Erikeller' just got mentioned as one of the major noble houses in the book. They probably won't have a big part, but they are weapons merchants, which I thought you might appreciate.

    Gemm, I didn't so much as give you a character as base an entire cultural dialect off of your language patterns. They're a bunch of underground street punks who like to speak in a slang that (intentionally) confuses everyone else. There is a character in the book from that culture, though he's a few years younger than you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, House Elariel and the Lady Stace Whiten just got cameos. House Elariel throws a party that some characters attend; Lady Whiten is a young woman that is supposedly one of characters' dates, but he ditches her. (Sorry. He's kind of like that.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, busy night.

    First off, House Tekiel showed up in the book. In connection with that, I managed to work in House Geffenry and House Izenry.

    My favorite for the night, however, is the appearance of Lord Charleir Entrone. He shows up only as a corpse, having been stabbed in the back while in a drunken stupor, but he has a reputation of being a twisted connoisseur of underground bloodfight gambling.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Now, I would like to point out that I have been miss-represented. While I have a penchant for characters who avoid marriage, I have some (not as many, I admit) who look forward to it. Let's look at viewpoint characters in my current novel:

    Jasnah: Female. Doesn't want to get married.

    Taln: Male. Doesn't want to get married.

    Shinri: Female. Eager to get married, and engaged.

    Merin: Male. Never really thought about it (only 17) but not really opposed to it.

    Jek: Male. Neutral.

    Dalenar: Male. Has been married twice, and is currently married. Wanted to the first time, was forced into it the second time.

    So, while I wouldn't argue that I tend to have a lot of characters who (perhaps) share my philosophy, I try to represent the other side as well.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson


    Wellen/Wells is a cameo on two levels. First off, you may remember him from book two as a random viewpoint we got during Vin and Zane's assault on Cett when he was staying in Keep Hasting. Wellen was the guy on the wall who distrusted the mists—and was the only survivor of his squad after Vin and Zane blasted through them to attack the keep itself.

    Well, Cett's army—and therefore Wellen—joined with Elend's army. He ended up remaining in Luthadel as part of Penrod's force. He also happens to be based on my pal and fellow writer Dan Wells, whose first novel I Am Not a Serial Killer comes out from Tor in March 2010.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    TenSoon Impersonates Kelsier

    I hope it's not too much of a stretch for you to buy TenSoon mimicking Kelsier here. The groundwork is all there: He is extremely good at crafting bodies, to the point that he was able to make a believable person out of bones he'd never used before back in the Homeland. He interrogated OreSeur and knew where the bones were, and what quirks of features he'd need to include to mimic Kelsier. And he'd seen the Survivor on one occasion himself.

    That's right—as he mentions, he did see the Survivor. This shouldn't be too surprising for you, as TenSoon makes an appearance in book one. Go back and look in the book at where Elend confronts his father after going to one of the balls and coming home late. (I think it's the first or second Elend viewpoint we get.) There he mentions TenSoon, the Venture kandra.

    TenSoon was there the day Kelsier fought in the Square of the Survivor, just like Elend and Straff were.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Two

    This Book's Epigraphs

    The epigraphs from this book are quite a bit different from the ones in the previous two volumes. These are a much more scientific, and—unlike the first two sets—are not from the past, but from the future. (Though, like the other two, they're from a written record that eventually does appear in the novel.)

    This is intentional. In the other two books, the epigraphs were intended to fill out the mythology of the world. By having them come from the past, I was able to add a weight of history to the story that would otherwise have been missing, as the characters weren't focusing much on those kinds of things. In this book, however, I felt that digging up yet another ancient record would be repetitious. I wanted to do something new, something that would add to the tone of this novel.

    And, since the book is about the end of the world, I figured that someone looking back on events and writing about them would give just the right mixture of mystery (Who is it?) tension (Does the world actually end? How can it, if someone survives to write?) and information. These epigraphs, then, are meant to answer questions and fill out the setting of the world in a different way from the other two.

    I do worry that they're too scientific for the feel of the book. I like my books to feel like fantasy, but I really walk the line with how technical my explanations of the magic can feel. Overall, in my books I generally shoot for more of a Renaissance or early industrial revolution feel than a classical medieval feel.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-One

    Elend Fights the Koloss in the Village

    This chapter gets my next award for favorite chapters in this book. (I think this is number four.)

    The next few Elend chapters run him through the ringer—and yet at the same time let him shine. He's alone, forced to work through his problems without Vin, Tindwyl, or the others to support him. It's time for him to decide who he really is and what he really wants.

    This chapter begins that. Elend's frustration at not being able to protect his people finally bursts from him, and his passion drives him to do as Vin did in book two. Yet there is far less beauty to his attack than there was to hers. Elend is powerful, but with Allomancy he also has to be blunt.

    I love the imagery of this scene in the village, Elend fighting by the firelight of burning buildings, ash and mist in the air, koloss dying by the dozens. It's his first real chance to be a Mistborn, in my opinion, and he is kind of surprised by what it does to him.

    He's not finished working through his need to protect the people of his empire. In a way, he's just beginning down the path of what he needs to work out. However, this is a pivotal moment, where he finally acknowledges what it is that has been bothering him so much. He doesn't just fear that he's becoming like the Lord Ruler—he fears that he's becoming like the Lord Ruler but doing a much poorer job than his predecessor ever did.