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    #7901 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Five - Part Two

    Lightsong's Dream

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

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

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

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

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #7902 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #7903 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher Meets Bebid the Priest for Food

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

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

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #7904 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nightblood Origins

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

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

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

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

    West Jordan signing ()
    #7906 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #7907 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

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

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

    West Jordan signing ()
    #7908 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

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

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

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

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #7909 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Other Notes

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

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

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #7910 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Undead

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

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

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

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #7911 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Four - Part Two

    Hawaii

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

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

    West Jordan signing ()
    #7912 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Zas

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Multiplicitive?

    Zas

    Yeah. 

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #7913 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Siri Approaches T'Telir

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

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

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #7914 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Four - Part One

    Naming in This Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

    West Jordan signing ()
    #7915 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Spoiler! Talk circumloqutically, talk around it.

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    West Jordan signing ()
    #7917 Copy

    Zas

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Mi'chelle

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Audience Member

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Zas

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Footnote: This has since been changed. If a time bubble is created on/in an object with a significant enough mass, such as a train, the bubble will adhere to and move with the object, and remain stationary relative to the point at which it was created on/in the object.
    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #7921 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Argent

    Kind of like if a friend dies?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe a little more personal than that.

    Questioner

    I guess Helaran was not bonded to a spren then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    And why do you say that?

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a very good clue, yes.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #7922 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #7923 Copy

    Questioner

    Why can only women write?

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Questioner

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

     

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Footnote: The "sort of essay" referred to here by Brandon is Arts and Majesty.
    West Jordan signing ()
    #7924 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Questioner

    So by his nature, he can't combine?

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    West Jordan signing ()
    #7925 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Audience Member

    The mother of invention

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    West Jordan signing ()
    #7926 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Demoux is indeed in that scene.

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

    Mi'chelle

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Footnote: The scene being discussed is the three men, Thinker, Grump, and Blunt, in the Ishikk interlude of The Way of Kings, set in the Purelake. These three men are members of the Cosmere organization, The Seventeenth Shard.
    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #7929 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Why does he do that?

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #7932 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Salt Lake City signing ()
    #7933 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    *long pause* 

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

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #7935 Copy

    Questioner

    I was reading stuff online about like a Mistborn videogame?

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #7936 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #7937 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #7938 Copy

    Questioner

    I've always thought in Steelheart, or in the Reckoners series, what influenced your characters like that, like was there comic books behind that? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've read a lot of comics, so you can find--

    Questioner

    Any specific ones that influenced you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Watchman influenced everyone. Kingdom Come is one of first that made me really think about comics. My favorite was the old Eastman and Laird original Turtles. But I don't know if that's as much inspiration as me just enjoying it. I don't know. I like the graphic novels like the Killing Joke... that feel like a self-contained story.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #7939 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Warbreaker had just come out, and I was talking about how you used more comedy in the book, and I was asking about it and everything else, and I was so pleased that you've done such a wonderful job with it, I enjoyed the humor aspects, besides it just sets everything up perfectly.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I feel that a great book is going to have a wide range of emotions, so I try to stick various different ones in.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #7945 Copy

    Questioner

    How far ahead in the timeline is Sixth of Dusk?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Pretty far.

    Questioner

    Can I have a general--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most people that I'm writing about now are dead.

    Questioner

    Is it up into the third trilogy of Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is that era, yes.

    Questioner

    Sweet! That's what I thought.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It might be a little bit before that trilogy, but it's that era.