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    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7801 Copy

    little_wilson

    So, Brandon. Hoid. I remember you saying at the Idaho Falls signing last year that he was in Well of Ascension. We, your dedicated fans who like scouring books searching for obscure characters who have any possibility of being the mysterious Hoid, have yet to find him. Peter sent us on a hunt for him (Hoid, not Peter...) in the deleted scenes, and we found his boot-print.

    Now, I think he broke the pottery there too—the one holding the lerasium—and since there's broken pottery in the actual version, I think he may have snuck into the cavern and broken it as well. If so, is this Hoid's part in Well of Ascension? This trace of him? I commend you if it is. It is clever, making us think it was a person, when in fact it's just something he did.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You are on the right track, but wrong on one point. Hoid does appear in the book.

    I had originally toyed with making his touch on the novel more obscure, but decided that I wanted to be consistent with the other novels by actually having him appear. Once I realized I'd probably cut the scene with the footprint, I decided I needed this actual appearance even more badly.

    Fortunately, I knew what Hoid had been up to all this time, and had placed him in a position where several characters could run into him. In Well of Ascension, Hoid believed (as Vin did) that the Well was in the North, even though it was not. He spent much of the book pursuing this idea.

    Through events, however, he discovered he was wrong. He made the realization after Vin did, but only because of a chance meeting. (This is recorded in the books. Let's just say he was listening in when someone implied that the Well was in Luthadel.)

    He hurried to Luthadel, and was in the town, skulking about in the last parts of the novel. He isn't seen here, though he does still infiltrate the Well. (Hoid is quite proficient at manipulating Shadesmar for his own ends.)

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7802 Copy

    ErrantKnave

    Any plans to tour Warbreaker or The Gathering Storm in Toronto or other Canadian cities?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll be in Montreal on Saturday the eighth! Less than a week away now. I'm hoping to get to other cities in Canada for future tours, but I'm going to start with this one visit. We'll see. We might be able to manage a several-city Canadian Tour next year.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7803 Copy

    Aldoth

    A bit left of center question. Are you a role player? I ask because on Writing Excuses I think I heard you mention it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I am a role player. Have been since I discovered the TMNT RPG back when I was a young teen, and have been doing it pretty much ever since. When I play, I’m almost always some kind of magic user (duh). When I GM, I prefer to homebrew my own system.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7804 Copy

    izyk

    You mentioned in an earlier answer that learning to revise was one of the biggest factors in making your work publishable.

    Would you give us an idea of the process you go through when you revise?

    Thanks!

    --Isaac

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thanks for the question, Isaac! (Isaac, by the way, is the person who introduced me to my wife and set us up on our first blind date.)

    I view working on a book in the same way a sculptor might view working on a block of wood. The first draft is generally focused on getting things in place so I can work on them. In essence, I cut out the crude features of the sculpture—but when it's done, there is still a lot of work to be done. Readers who see the book in this stage can tell what the basic arcs and characters will be, but the emotional impact is lessened by the crude edges and unfinished lines.

    Here's my process in a nutshell:

    Draft one: Write the book in draft form.

    Draft two: Read through the entire book, fixing the major problems. Often, I'll change character personalities halfway through the first draft as I search to figure out how I want the character to sound. I don't go back then and revise, as I need to try out this personality for a while before I decide to actually use it. Similarly, often I'll drop in new characters out of the blue, pretending that they've been there all along. In the second draft, I settle on how I want things to really look, feel, and work.

    Draft three: Language draft. Here I'm seeking to cut the book down by 10%. I write with a lot of extra words, knowing I'll need a trim. This will make the prose more vibrant, and will make the pacing work better.

    In a perfect world, this is where I writing group the piece and/or send it to my editor. (For lack of time, my writing group is getting Draft Two of The Way of Kings. Hopefully, I'll be able to do draft three by the end of the year.)

    I let readers read the book, and I take some time off of it. I begin collecting things I want to change in the book in a separate file, called "Revision notes for ***", listing the name of the book. I organize these by character and by importance and/or pervasiveness. For instance, a need to rewrite a character's motivations will be at the top. Fixing one specific scene so that it has proper foreshadowing will be near the bottom.

    Once this is all done, and I've gotten feedback and had time to think, I read through the book again with my revision notes file open beside the book file itself. I actively look for places to change, kind of like a sculptor looking over the statue and seeking places to knock off jagged chunks and smooth out the sculpture’s features.

    I'll do this process several times, usually. In-between, I'll often do line-edit drafts, like the language draft above, where I'm focused on getting rid of the passive voice and adding more concrete details.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7806 Copy

    Nikleas

    Since you established that all the worlds you created in your books are linked, any chance to see in the (very) distant future a book/series that delves into this overarching story/universe/rules more directly? Possibly with a crossover of characters from your different stories, specifically characters that became "immortal" or at least achieve a "different" state: Sazed, Kelsier, Raoden. Is that something you would even be interested in doing?

    Or will you stick to placing subtle hints in your different books/series about the overall system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    VERY distant future is correct. I will confirm that I do have stories planned that delve into what is going on behind the scenes. There will be short stories dealing with Hoid, most likely posted to my website.

    Some of these stories are novel length, and I can't say what I'll do with them. Perhaps I'll write them out in novel form and release them in bookstores, but I have a feeling that most of my readers would be completely confused by them. So perhaps these will all just be on my website only. (If they are released that way, they'll most likely be free for download and reading.)

    The subtle hints will continue until then. Mostly, I want the stories to be enjoyable and self-contained. I don't want anyone to HAVE to know any of the behind the scenes, regarding Hoid, Adonalsium, and the rest. (Yes, there is more.) Those are there for the readers who want to dig, and who want to see the greater story. But I don't want them to overshadow the stories of the books themselves. At least not yet.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7807 Copy

    Rachykaych

    Also I wondered whether you will ever publish an encyclopedia of your interlocking worlds and their relationship to each other within their cosmos?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I plan to do something like this, as things progress. It won't happen until the future, however, and will likely happen only on-line. There will eventually be short stories showing some of what is going on behind the main stories of the novels. I do have some novels planned which would deal with all of this in a more direct way, but they are decades away from being written.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7808 Copy

    Rachykaych

    I've just read Warbreaker twice now and really enjoyed it both times.

    I read that although you've planned another book in the Warbreaker world you're not certain of when you can begin writing it. As it is the only book of yours that I've read to date, I've had to skip some of your answers to other questions that contain spoilers for your other book One thing I noticed in my skimming was that the character Hoid has turned up in other books of yours.

    He's very intriguing and at one point I thought he might be Vasher in disguise. Is he a Returned or is he not constrained by the magical construct?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, he's certainly not Vasher in disguise. Keep an eye out for him in other books of mine you read. He's constrained by magic like everyone else, but he has some extra experience, so to speak.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7809 Copy

    Chaos2651

    In the days of the Final Empire, how does one acquire a Kandra Contract? It's not like they can just walk up to their hidden Homeland and ask for their services.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Same way you would go about hiring an assassin. Secretly, using contacts who have used them before. You have to be in the know and well-connected, either with the upper-class or the underground.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7811 Copy

    Chaos2651

    Hemalurgically, atium steals Allomantic Temporal Powers. But, that seems unlikely, since atium is a god metal. It wouldn't fit in with the rest of the magic system. Did Preservation, in addition to switching Cadmium and Bendalloy for Atium and Malatium, also switch atium's Feruchemical and Hemalurgic powers with Cadmium? Because it seems to me there's not a lot of atium Marsh can use to live for hundreds of years into the next Mistborn trilogy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Preservation wanted Atium and Malatium to be of use to the people, as he recognized that it would be a very powerful tool—and that using it up could help defeat Ruin. But he also recognized that sixteen was a mythological important number, and felt it would make the best sign for his followers. So he took out the most unlikely (difficult to make and use) metals for his sign to his followers. But that doesn't have much to do with Hemalurgy's use here.

    Remember that the tables—and the ars Arcanum—are 'in world' creations. (Or, at least, in-universe.) The knowledge represented in them is as people understand it, and can always have flaws. That was the case with having atium on the table in the first place, and that was the case with people (specifically the Inquisitors) trying to figure out what atium did Hemalurgically.

    Their experiments (very expensive ones) are what determined that atium (which they thought was just one of the sixteen metals) granted the Allomantic Temporal powers. What they didn't realize is that atium (used correctly) could steal ANY of the powers. Think of it as a wild card. With the right knowledge, you could use it to mimic any other spike. It works far better than other spikes as well.

    As for Marsh, he's got a whole bag of atium (taken off of the Kandra who was going to try to sell it.) So he's all right for quite a while. A small bead used right can reverse age someone back to their childhood.

    But this was a little beyond their magical understanding at the time.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7812 Copy

    Chaos2651

    Can you tell us what the rest of the Feruchemical and Hemalurgic powers are? Since, you know, you won't be writing in the Mistborn world for many years, and those Feruchemical and Hemalurgic Tables might not even come into existence if the Allomantic Metals one doesn't sell. Pretty please?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will release this eventually. I'm still tweaking the powers—their names, and how they function—and so I'd rather hold off on revealing anything specific right now. We might include them in the RPG, though.

    Chaos2651

    When is the Table of Allomantic Metals coming out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Printer emailed me today for final confirmation. Should be very soon now.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7813 Copy

    Chaos2651

    Is there a rationale to how Hemalurgic powers are distributed? I tried to look for a system, but they seem rather randomly distributed. For example, the spike which steals Allomantic powers for a particular quadrant is not always in one particular spot.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is correct, it's not always in one particular spot. None of them are. I used as my model on this magic system the concept of acupuncture and pressure points. Placing a Hemalurgic spike is a very delicate and specific art. Imagine there being a different overlay on a human body, like a new network of nerves, representing lines, points, and 'veins' of the soul's spiritual makeup.

    What is happening with Hemalurgy, essentially, is that you're driving a spike through a specific point on a person's body and ripping off a piece of their soul. It sticks to the spike on the Spiritual Realm. Then, you place that spike on someone else in a specific place (not exactly the same place, but on the right spiritual pressure point) and 'hot wire' the spirit to give it Hemalurgy or Feruchemy. It's like you're fooling the spiritual DNA, creating a work-around. Or, in some cases, changing the spirit to look like something else, which has the immediate effect of distorting the body and transforming it into a new creature.

    Hemalurgy is a very brutal way of making changes like this, though, so it often has monstrous effects. (Like with the koloss.) And in most cases, it leaves a kind of 'hole' in the spirit's natural defenses, which is how Ruin was able to touch the souls of Hemalurgists directly.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7814 Copy

    Chaos2651

    In Mistborn, you say its planet is called Scadrial. In-universe, where (or when) did the name Scadrial come to be used to be describe the Mistborn planet? Did the Lord Ruler and his obligators use that as the name of the planet, or did it come later, post-Mistborn 3? Or is "Scadrial" just what you as an author use to refer to it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is "In Universe" so to speak, though the name itself isn't known to the people on-planet. The Lord Ruler was the only one who understood the exact nature of a planet, really, though some of the obligators and noble scholars had a general idea. Astronomy was one of the scientific areas where the Lord Ruler didn't mind people doing research, so long as it kept their interest away from chemistry or a science that could lead to advances in weaponry.

    Scadrial would then have been the name that Ruin and Preservation understood for the planet, as well as certain other groups and individuals of a less directly divine nature.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7815 Copy

    TaurusRW

    Which is your favorite Pratchett novel and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Truth is my favorite. As a writer, and one who likes to explore the nature of the truth in his works, a novel that deals with someone trying to publish a newspaper in a fantasy world mixed philosophy and laughs in the way only Pratchett can. However, Guards Guards is the book where I suggest people new to Pratchett start. (I suggest avoiding the Colour of Magic as your first experience, even though it's technically the first book in the series. They are all stand alone novels, really, and Guards Guards can be seen as the beginning of the best sub-series within the series.)

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7816 Copy

    paulgoatallen

    Brandon: I'd like to ask your opinion of the current state of the fantasy genre....

    Fantasy has always been a "series-powered" genre but it seems that lately several authors (or publishers) just don't know when to suitably end a long-running saga... Drawing out a series for the sake of more installments, it seems.

    And there seems to be fewer and fewer standalone novels like Warbreaker and Elantris. (I love standalone novels, by the way, and am hoping that that "format" makes a return!)

    Any comments on this from your perspective? Thanks!

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a good question, Paul. One I've been considering, actually, for a long time. Certainly, there's an economic piece to it.

    When a stand-alone comes out, it tends to gather praise from both readers and reviewers. Then proceeds to sell far fewer copies than a series book does. The Wheel of Time didn't hit #1 on the New York Times list until book eight or nine, I believe, and I don't think Sword of Truth hit #1 until book ten. Series tend to sell better. Even as readers complain about them. And so I think publishers do push for them.

    But why do they sell better? Well, I think this is partially the learning curve factor. We like fantasy for the same reason that fantasy is hard to read: the learning curve. Starting a fantasy book can be tough because of how many new names, concepts, societies, religions, and laws of physics you have to learn and get used to. Epics, with their dozens upon dozens of characters, are even tougher in this regard. And so, after investing so much energy into becoming an expert in the world, we want to get a good payoff and be able to USE that expertise.

    Beyond that, I think that fantasy is character driven—and when we fall in love with characters, we want to read more about them. Fantasy, particularly the epic series, allows us to follow characters across sweeping, life changing events. Fantasy (like historicals) give us lots of pages and time to know these characters. So we want more from them.

    But the very thing that we love about fantasy in this regard also tends to present problems. We want lots of characters, but eventually this large cast gets overwhelms us and makes the books seem to drag. Personally, I think these complaints will be much lessened when some of these great series are done, and you don't have to wait years and years between volumes.

    Anyway, Terry Brooks talks a lot about this in his biographical work Sometimes the Magic Works. (Bet you can find it here on BN.com, and I highly suggest the book as a quick, interesting, engaging read.) He mentions how, when he left Shannara to write other things, the fans begged and begged him for more. Until finally he broke down and gave them more books in the world.

    A lot of authors I know tend to live in this state of perpetual wonder and amazement that, finally, people are actually enjoying and reading their works. (After all the years of failure trying to break in, I know that I feel this way a lot.) When someone comes to you and talks about how much they love one of your works, asking you to write more...well, we're storytellers. If people want a story, we want to give it to them. It's hard to say no. (Though so far I have.)

    I intend to keep writing stand-alone novels. But I do so knowing that 1) they will not sell as well as series books and 2) readers will ask me for more, and so each stand alone will only increase the number of requests for future books that I can't write. I'm in the fortunate place that I can write, and publish, what I want—whether it be series or stand alone—and no longer have to worry about the money.

    But, in my heart, I've got a strong desire to write a big epic. I grew up reading them. I want to see if I can do one, my way, and add something new to the genre. So maybe that's the reason. Looking through Robert Jordan's notes, reading interviews, I don't think he ever artificially inflated the length of his series because of publisher desire or money reasons. I think he loved the long-form epic, and wanted to tell the story his way, no matter how long it took. And as he added more characters, it took longer and longer.

    In a way, being free from the worry of finances gives creators a chance to really explore their vision the way they want to. And...well, we’re fantasy writers, so we can get a little long winded.

    Kind of like this response, eh? ;) Thanks for the question.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7817 Copy

    Nadine

    Melissa, I think we have members from another forum joining us and they have information that we don't have. Maybe even advanced book information, like we know nothing about The Way of Kings and only heard about the book recently and know nothing of its content.

    Could some of you newcomers introduce yourselves (maybe on our "Introduce Yourself" thread and not clutter up this one) and tell us where you are from? We love the information you are bringing and introducing on this thread but we are confused.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I posted on my website that I'd be doing this, and I don't often have time to interact on forums. (They are a delightful way to interact with readers, but have proven a HUGE time-sink for me in the past. As you might have noticed, I tend to write—and respond—in depth when people ask questions of me.) So I only appear on forums occasionally. Hence the involvement of those from my forums looking for some answers to questions.

    Some backstory might help you all. I began writing in earnest in 1997. During those years, I shared the books I wrote with a group of friends. This group worked with me on The Leading Edge, a science fiction fanzine/semiprozine at BYU. Eventually, once we graduated, we founded the Timewaster's Guide, partially as a forum where we could hang out. (Tage and Ookla from the TWG forums—aka Ben and Peter—are among them, and are still very good friends of mine. Another easter egg is to watch how Ben Olsen and Peter Ahlstrom are treated in the acknowledgements of many of my books.)

    The overarching story and theme of my books, what I wanted to accomplish as a writer, and how I approached the fantasy genre, all took shape during this time. These readers read many of my most important, and influential (on me as a writer) novels while in draft form. The biggest three of these during this era were White SandDragonsteel, and Elantris. (On the tail end, I wrote—but never finished—the foundations of what years later became Warbreaker.)

    The next era of my unpublished writing was when I worked on the worlds, stories, and themes that eventually became Mistborn, The Way of Kings, and a book called the Aether of Night. Many of my writing group friends have read these books, including the first draft of Kings (which is very, very different from the current draft.)

    Anyway, these unpublished books are NOT canon yet. I don't canonize a novel until I publish it. But some of the hidden themes (including Hoid and Adonalsium) of my books are present in these novels. (Dragonsteel and Aether of Night are particularly connected—though of the unpublished Shardworld books, White Sand is probably the best written.) Again, none of this is canon yet. (For instance, I've taken chunks out of Dragonsteel to use in the revision of The Way of Kings.) However, these old books do contain clues that aren't available to the average reader.

    Dragonsteel can be ordered through inter-library loan through the university library system. There are only four or five copies in existence. The BYU library has one (the book was my honor's thesis.) I believe the honors department has one. My thesis chair has one. (And maybe the committee has one, I can't remember.) I've got one in my basement. And I believe Ben's sister may have sneaked a copy out of the trash when I was cleaning out old manuscripts. (That might be White Sand.)

    I do have intentions of rewriting these books and publishing them eventually. They each have pieces of the story. (Though I may decide to shift certain themes from one series to another as I eventually write and publish them.) I've been known to email White Sand or Aether of Night to readers who email and ask. (Though it does make me cringe a little to do so. In many of these books, I was experimenting with magic, theme, and narrative style—some experiments were a success, some were failures.)

    Dragonsteel is frozen; I don't send it out any longer, as to not spoil the parts of The Way of Kings that I decided fit better in that world. So the only way to get it now is to borrow it from BYU. I've been told that Dragonsteel is the only undergraduate BYU honor's thesis ever to have been be read so often that it needed to be rebound. (A dubious honor, I'm not sure how I feel about so many people reading a book of mine that is that mediocre.)

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #7818 Copy

    Questioner

    He said, "I was reading through *inaudible* Szeth section he mentioned that 'we are all that remains'. Is he saying that the Shin are the lost Order? The one that didn't abandon the oaths? Of course the section *inaudible* alternatives-- *interrupted*

    Brandon Sanderson

    What they are doing is-- Szeth is saying, "We are all that remains that remembers what happened before." [...] And they may be-- they may not remember accurately. But they consider themselves the only ones who know. Does that make sense? [...] It is not reference to the Orders.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #7819 Copy

    Questioner 1

    So I've spent quite a few hours trying to work out Pattern 1, you know Ceiling of the 2nd Rotation of the Diagram. *inaudible* But I wanted to ask you-- And Peter said you wanted to make us sweat, you know of course, on the 17th Shard. But I want to ask you, and hopefully you'll be able to answer this... Is Pattern 15 used in the solution? Would you tell me that at least? Please, I beg of you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The solution... Indeed, the key to the solution is somewhere in the book.

    Questioner 1

    No, that doesn't help me!

    Brandon Sanderson

    That helps you! That helps you. 

    Questioner 2

    *Questioner 1 moans* We've already got 15 pages. On the 17th Shard.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can interact with Peter, because I ran everything through him on this. Because... And so... I actually did it all myself, but then he corrected me where I was wrong. So I'm gonna send it his way, because I don't know if he's made any tweaks to it from what my original concept was.

    Questioner 1

    I know there was a change in the gamma read with some of the number.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm... Yes.

    Questioner 1

    You know it's pretty cool. There seems to be a ketek in there people have discovered, or a palindrome or whatever where there's numbers, patterns matching. Mirror image. Yadda yadda. *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    You should be... Yeah, see what you do.

    Questioner 1

    I've just-- It would be nice to know.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've alr-- I've given you the fact that there's a key to it.

    Questioner 1

    A key to it... *inaudible* *Questioner 2 gasps* Alright...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. In the book, there is a key to it.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7822 Copy

    little_wilson

    If the gang from Writing Excuses were put in a horror film, obviously Dan would be the killer. But what order do you think everyone would die in? And how would they die? (The victim list includes: you, Howard, Jordan, Pemberly, Stacy, and Peter.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha! Well, let's see. If Dan were the killer, I think he'd try to take out Howard first, since Howard is obviously the most dangerous of us all. Though he sees me more often, so he might try to get to me first. I'd put it in this order:

    HowardMeJordoPeterPemberly (he'd leave the women for last because he's a very gentlemanly killer.)

    And then Stacy would take Dan down in a surprise ending. She'd edit him out of the script or something.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7823 Copy

    little_wilson

    Peter said if we did enough begging, we could see some Nightblood replicas. Can you give us more details? And exactly HOW much more begging would be necessary (Mi'chelle says keep it below $100...I say below $50, but I suppose if you must go higher, I might be able to compensate...)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've had an offer from a swordsmith who was at JordanCon. These would be more expensive replicas, though, as they be hand-made by the swordsmith himself. He does very good work, but the price he mentioned was $200, I believe.

    I've put Peter in charge of looking into this and seeing how viable it is. The cost might be too high for the readers to want to buy them. What we'd do is take pre-orders, and then do a limited edition run of maybe ten or twenty swords, hand-made by the swordsmith. If we had ten or so preorders, we'd be able to do it.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7824 Copy

    little_wilson

    She (and I) would also like to know more details of the Mistborn movie. The last she heard, you'd rejected it being a TV series. So, yeah. Any more details?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Did a big post on this just above. I think that will answer the request for details.

    Note that I rejected the tv series not because of the idea of doing a tv series itself, but because I wasn't confident in the production studio who was making the offer. More details will come once contracts are signed.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7825 Copy

    little_wilson

    Mi'chelle is wanting to know for a fanfic she's wanting to write if when you cut/break an object that has been Awakened if the object then "dies", or if the pieces will try to carry out the command. Also, either way, can the breaths be recovered from it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The object does not die, and will try to continue its purpose. The level of damage will determine just how well it can continue. The Breaths are recoverable. (Though there could be some loss of Breaths, depending on how the item is destroyed.) There's a scene near the end where Vasher Awakens some clothing, then it gets cut down and he recovers the Breath.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #7828 Copy

    Questioner

    So do you come up with those [glyph designs] or is there an Artist that does that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know what?  All of those have been done by Isaac.  I came up with a sequence of them for the original right in 2002.  And they just weren't up to my current artistic standards, and so I let Isaac do it.  I'm a big believer in letting people who are experts in things do what they're good at doing, to the point that when I needed a creepy lullaby in this I hired a musician to write it rather than writing it myself just so that we would have  the extra *inaudible*.  

    Questioner

    Is that the?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The backstory one.

    Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
    #7829 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible* this thing I have fallen in love with *inaudible* when you're the only one that knows that you can only talk about...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I end up RAFOing a lot. "Read and find out". I do a lot of that.  

    Questioner

    Will it ever be in print or will it always be a backstory...

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be several series about the cosmere, but they're a little ways off.  

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #7830 Copy

    Melhay

    Is Adonalsium going to be mentioned by name in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings or is he going to be an underlining "God"(I don't know what to call him yet) idea? I am curious now, so I will have to keep my eyes open for him.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Adonalsium (Ahy-doe-Nahl-see-um) will be mentioned by name again. Ruin and Preservation were what have been called Shards of Adonalsium. (The Voice from Warbreaker is another Shard.)

    Melhay

    Is this "character" a common link between your books for religion or magical or maybe even both?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Adonalsium has to do with the Cosmere, which is the word Realmatic philosophers use to refer to the greater universe of the Shardworlds. It's hard to separate religion, magic, science, and society in most of these worlds. So "both" is a good guess.

    Melhay

    I was curious because he just seemed to appear and nothing further on him/it. Thank you for mentioning that he is in these two other books, I will have to look for hints of him.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The word Adonalsium (or, well, the miss-spelling of it) appears in only one of the books. Other clues and links between the books can be found as well. (Some people on my forums have spotted some of them. Others have gone unspotted so far.)

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    iwinUlose2

    If you were going to write a novel in a genre other than scifi/fantasy which genre do you think that you would write in?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmm... Perhaps a historical. Something I could really sink my teeth into. I could also see myself writing a mystery or a thriller.

    The thing is, unless I'm under some kind of restriction, I know that any of those three would probably end up having fantasy or sf elements. It's just how I think.

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    Dreamer129

    I'm feeling a little bewildered; I keep seeing references to "Hoid" throughout these boards and the twitter page, and I'm assuming this is a character who makes a short appearance in each book. If so, is there an actual story going on with him, or was he just someone put in as a sort of "Easter egg"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think I've covered this in responses I gave before getting to your question. My forums have a lot more information. (And a lot of guesses.)

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    Zas678

    What is the X in Aon Mea? Is it one of the Shard-pools?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Afraid not. Aon Mea references the expanded region within which the "Elantris Effect" will create Elantrians. The X is fertile valley with a high density of life, a place with a lot of cognitive activity. (Cognitive as defined by Realmatic Theory includes the 'thoughts' of all things that exist, not just human beings. The more complex the life form, the stronger its presence on the Cognitive Realm.)

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    Zas678

    My last question shouldn't be as hard to answer and that is: Who is in charge of the Mistborn movie you mentioned at the #tweettheauthor?

    Thank you so much, I love your books!

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a small production studio, so nobody you'd recognize. The producer is a fan of the Mistborn books who has some credentials in independent films, and who has impressed me with his treatment of the books and his determination to make the film. This individual is starting a production company to focus on the film. We're in the contract stages now, and once that is done, I can be more specific.

    It's not like the Alcatraz movie, which was optioned directly by a studio. Because of that, the Mistborn movie is probably a lot less likely to happen—but, the hands it is in are quite good. Anything having to do with Hollywood is a long-shot in the first place, so (after meeting with the producer) I decided that I'd rather take the slightly more unlikely chance in exchange for the opportunity to work with someone I felt understood the books.

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    Zas678

    Now this one will probably be RAFO'd: I know you already said that there are four Shards outside of Ati and Leras in your other books. Could you tell us the numbers per book? Is just a standard two per book? Or do some have more than others?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some worlds have more than others. You have seen the effects, influences, and work of four other Shards. One Shard, however, was no longer on the world by the time the story was told there.

    Zas678

    I know that we've "interacted with two directly" (the pool in Elantris, and The Voice that called Lightsong back to life) that we've "seen it's power" (Dahkhor??) and another that we've seen their infulence (I have no idea on this one, though I think it might be whatever pointed out Aon Rao in Elantris to Raoden)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nice guesses on most of those. You've got some things right. You've got some things wrong. The only thing I'll confirm (and I don't think I've said this before) is that The Voice is, indeed, one of the Shards of Adonalsium. (Endowment is that Shard's true name, by the way.)

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    Zas678

    I have some more in-depth questions that might be RAFO'd. For fans who want to know what I'm talking about, go here. Here they are:

    Who is Hoid in Well of Ascension? We (TWG) have found some candidates:

    Wolfhound merchantTerris person that Elend meets after Vin went back to LuthadelTeur or old Jed (the two Skaa in the first Sazed chapter)Crazy cannibal Skaa (I doubt it though)

    We already know it isn't the man who discovered duralumin, or the Skaa leader outside the dress shop, or the old Skaa who waits with the Holy First Witness when the Koloss attack.

    I think those were all of the characters that we found as candidates.

    Brandon Sanderson

    People are really close to this one, and I noticed that later in this thread, you or someone else mentioned the footprints in the deleted scene.

    Hoid's appearance in Mistborn: Well of Ascension is a little unlike the others. When the scene at the Well was moved in revision, one of Hoid's major influences on the book had to go (for various reasons). Left in the book is only one little hint, really. A character notices something odd about someone, but doesn't dwell on it. You can probably find the line if you look very closely.

    Let me say this. Hoid got wrapped up in things he didn't expect to be involved in, and they dominated much of his time during the events of Mistborn: Well of Ascension. He spent most of the book in a different place from most of the viewpoint characters. He's only near them for a very short time, and he's deeply in disguise. I couldn't include his name, as he'd never have used the name "Hoid" for himself there, because it wouldn't have been right for the disguise. He'd have used another pseudonym. (He didn't, by the way, mention one.)

    I've probably said too much already. Now, perhaps what people should asking me is this: "What has Hoid been up to in all of these books?" Or, maybe they shouldn't ask me, as I wouldn't be likely to answer. (There are clues in the novels, however.) No, he's not just hanging out. Yes, I know what he's been doing. Will I write his scenes some day? Maybe. We'll see. There may be short stories posted on my website.

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    Joshua_Patrao

    Your favorite movies?

    Brandon Sanderson

    GatticaThe Fifth Element, actually, is up there too. The Prisoner of Azkaban movie. Empire Strikes BackSneakers. Jackie Chan's Operation Condor. (I know, I know.) The Emperor's New GrooveStar Trek: First Contact.

    To be honest, that's probably not a great list. Those are the movies I watch over and over, but there are a lot of movies I love, but have only seen a few times. I'm not generally a 'watch it over again' type of guy, so it's hard to pick favorites. I come back to the genre films or things like Jackie Chan because they're quirky and rewatchable, but that doesn't actually mean they're my favorite—or that they've influenced me as much as other films. For instance, Lawrence of Arabia blew my mind, and The Stinginfluenced how I write quite a bit. But I've only ever seen those films once. But I do keep coming back to Gattica as one of the movies I think does what storytelling should do, when done perfectly right.

    Joshua_Patrao

    Your favorite music?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on the month. Right now? Daft Punk. Before that? Anything by Harry Gregson Williams. (Often, his music is better than the film it is in.) Metallica has been a long-standing favorite of mine, though I've been listening to a lot of Desprez lately.

    Joshua_Patrao

    I'd also like to thank Brandon here for being so wonderfully accessible. It's an excellent gesture Brandon, great of you. Your fans will always love you for it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No problem! Though that list above made me work. (Wipes brow.) I'm terrible at the "What's your favorite..." type questions.

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    Joshua_Patrao

    The Eternal Question: Mac or PC?

    Brandon Sanderson

    PC. Not out of any avid devotion, but because it's what I've grown up on. My wife is a Mac person, though.

    Joshua_Patrao

    Your word processor of choice?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Word. Same reason as above.

    Joshua_Patrao

    Do you have music on real loud when you write (I've heard Steve King writes like that) or is it soft in the background?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Soft in the background.

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    Joshua_Patrao

    Is The Way of Kings your biggest work planned or do you have something on the shelf that's bigger?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well...depends. Dragonsteel is plotted at seven books. And I plan two more trilogies, eventually, in the Mistborn world. But Kings was always planned and plotted to be the big war epic, focusing on large numbers of characters across a large number of books. Mistborn will span hundreds and hundreds of years, though, so it could be 'bigger' by some definitions. Dragonsteel also is in the running, but for reasons I can't really explain without giving away things I don't want to.

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    Joshua_Patrao

    About research: What, if any, research for your novels have you done, and how did you do it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The calling of a fiction writer, particularly a fantasy writer, is to know a little bit about a lot of things—just enough to be dangerous, so to speak. I tend to read survey books that talk about history—things that give overviews, such as the history of warfare, or the history of the sword, or navigation. That kind of thing. I would say I do a fair amount of research, but mostly it's an attempt to dump as much into my brain as possible for spawning stories and writing about things intelligently. For Mistborn, I researched canals, eunuchs, and London during the mid 1800's.

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    Joshua_Patrao

    About your characters, Brandon: Which ones are the most like yourself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's a piece of me in every one of them, but I'm not really like any of them. People who know me well say that Alcatraz's humor reminds them of my humor (which is different from Lightsong's humor or Kelsier's humor, which are different from mine.) Elend in the original Mistborn book represents some of how I've been known to act (bringing books to social events). Shuden in Elantris has a lot of me in him, actually. Raoden has my optimism, Hrathen my logical and thoughtful (and dangerously devious) mind, Vin my pragmatic determination, and Sarene my utter lack of skill with painting or drawing. In the end, I don't know if I can pick one who is most like me. Perhaps you should ask my wife. She'd probably be better at seeing this than I am.

    Joshua_Patrao

    Your favorite male and female characters you've written?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by favorite. A lot of people ask me this question, and my response is often different. Who am I writing at the time, what I am feeling at the time? Lightsong makes me laugh, but Kelsier is conflicted in a more personal, dangerous way—and that appeals to me. Vin is best rounded, but Sazed is (perhaps) closest to my heart.

    Joshua_Patrao

    Your favorite male/female characters of all time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Man, I'm bad at answering questions like this. Okay, male is probably Jean Valjean. Female...urg... Moiraine, maybe? Sioned from Dragon Prince is pretty awesome too. Double urg. I don't know. Jenny from Dragonsbane has long been one of my favorites, so maybe I'd pick her.

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    Raven_Lunatic

    First of all, I want to say how awesome your books are. The Mistborn series, in particular, is on my list of "best fantasy books ever read".

    Now my question: is Warbreaker going to be the start of a series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've talked about the sequel. I wouldn't call it a series, though, since I'm only intending it to be two books. I actually plotted it at one, then during drafting decided that some of the things I wanted to do would be better in a sequel, and started calling it a two-book series. Tor signed me for two, and have put the second one on infinite hiatus, allowing me to turn it in whenever I want.

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    Nelsmom

    Welcome and it is great to know that you live not too far from me. My question is this. I know that Orson Scott Card taught some Comparative Science Fiction class at BYU. Did you every take it and if so how much influence did it have on your wanting to write? I have enjoyed all of your books and at family gatherings they do get discussed.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually never got to take a class from Mr. Card, though I have enjoyed his books quite a bit. From what I hear, he has excellent advice for writers, but he wasn't teaching any classes at BYU when I was there. I did take a class from David Farland, which was extremely helpful. By then I was already a very dedicated writer (I had just finished Elantris) but didn't know much about the business at all. Mr. Farland's class taught me a lot about the nuts and bolts of getting published, and one could say that I owe my eventual publication—and a lot of my success—to what he taught and how helpful he was in how he taught it. Excellent person and writer.

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    chocolatebar

    Is it possible that there could be more than four Alcatraz books, or will the story conclude there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I pitched the series at six books, but only signed on for four at first. And so, while I'll be fulfilling my four book contract (happily) I don't know that I'll have time to write an Alcatraz book in 2010 (for 2011 release). I may have to let it stop at four for now, as to not take time away from the Wheel of Time. We'll see how I feel once I've finished all three of those, and we'll see how interested readers are in the books. But there's certainly a possibility.

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    chocolatebar

    Oops, I missed the Twitter Q&A, but I noticed there you're doing a signing in the DC area later this year. Thanks!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yup. Soon after The Gathering Storm is released. Details will be on my website soon. Will also be in New York, at the B&N flagship store on Manhattan.