Recent entries

    West Jordan signing ()
    #8104 Copy

    Questioner

    How many Stormlight Archive books are you planning? And how long is the next one going to be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Two series of five. So one ten book series, but you can view it as two sequences of five. My goal actually right now is to do the first five, take a little break, and maybe do the second Mistborn trilogy, or maybe do the White Sandtrilogy. These are chunks of the Cosmere that are a part of the greater arc, but the next [Stormlight Archive] book will probably not be as long. This is because I actually felt Way of Kings was too long, but it was what it needed to be, for what I was establishing. There was no sooner place to cut this, so I had to do it in this place. When I first turned it in to my editor in 2002, it scared him to death because of how big it was. I do plan the others to be more around the size of Gathering Storm and things, which are still big books, but I’m hoping that they will be a little bit shorter, because those chunks are more manageable when the books are a little bit shorter. I can actually make the book tighter more easily.

    I think Way of Kings turned out very tight, but it was so hard, because the longer you go with a sequence like that, the harder it is to make sure that everything, everyone is keeping track of everything. And the longer you go, the more of an instinct the reader will have to start following certain characters instead of reading it first as mixed, which makes for a better book. They’ll be like “Ah, I don’t remember this as well; I’ll just keep reading Kaladin,” or something like that. That’s actually a reason for me to keep them shorter, so you don’t have as much of an impetus to do that.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #8107 Copy

    Questioner

    By the way, allomancers fighting on a train? Very cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh thank you. I almost didn’t put that scene in, because it’s kind of a cliché, but then I’m like “I’ve gotta have a train fight.” And I’ll say this, Alloy of Law is intended to be slightly more of a pulp novel than Mistborn, and though even though it’s sort of a detective pulp novel, it’s got fun characters and a fun world, because that’s the way I do it. If I let myself do these sort of things, they are done for the pure fun of it, where they may not have fit in another book.

    West Jordan signing ()
    #8111 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you ever feel stifled? Now that you’ve got a couple of different lines going in different worlds that have your next 40 years planned out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes and no. I do start to feel a little stifled, and so you’ll see me do random side projects. It’s my steam valve to blow that pressure off, and then I get back to what I’m working on. That basically why you have Alloy of Law, because as much as I would’ve liked to have jumped right into the next Wheel of Time Book, I couldn’t. After writing Towers of Midnight, I was feeling too creatively stifled, and so I had to go take a break, and let myself for three months do whatever I wanted. And Alloy of Law came out of that.

    So that is how I do it. That’s where Rithmatist came from, that’s where Steelheart came from, that’s kind of where Alcatraz came from, these non-mainland books, that’s where they are going to come from. You can anticipate me doing that more often in the future. It is a different life for me now that when I was unpublished, and could just write whatever I wanted, and things like that, but at the same time, I have long loved the big epic series, and I’ve always wanted to do one. That’s why I built what I built. I didn’t do it because “Oh, this is what sells, I have to do this.” I did this because I wanted to have this big grand epic. That’s why I built the Cosmere books as I did.

    So I don’t feel stifled in that at all, even though I’ll finish one book than be like “Man, I can’t go into the next one of these” and go and do something different, because it’s my grand plan. You know, it’s the thing I’ve wanted to do. So I hope that people will stick with me for all these books, because I’ll do a lot of them. But they will fit together in some really cool ways once they are all done. I think you’ll be very very impressed, but that’s a while off

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #8116 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    When spren die, they kind of become part of everything, so why did, when the Knights broke their oaths, why did they stay as Shardblades?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    They had been bound into that form by those oaths. The oaths are broken, but it's like they’re cracked. Does that make sense? Like, there's still something holding those spren and that's what made them *inaudible* It would have been better if they had actually died, does that make sense? But they couldn't-- they're bound in that form.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    But their consciousness is still, like, gone?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    They still have a consciousness, some of them. To an extent.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    That's why the screaming happens.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes.

    Footnote: The first part of this was transcribed from a separate recording, so it should be close to verbatim. However, the audio file has been taken down, so it cannot be verified exactly.
    Alloy of Law Milton Keynes signing ()
    #8120 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Do you miss characters when you “write them out”?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Nice euphemism. I miss writing for them but it doesn’t shock me because I generally planned it that way, so I have time to prepare. I don’t see myself as killing them. Instead, I allow them to take risks and pay the price for those risks. Mostly, I know well in advance what will happen to a character. Just occasionally, though, the plot will suddenly take me to the point when something has to happen, then I have to go back and re-write the outline. I don’t sit there and think, “Now who won’t they expect me to kill," although I suspect some other authors might do that. *laughter*

    Alloy of Law Milton Keynes signing ()
    #8122 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    A lot of your work deals with stereotypes. Can you tell us more about that?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It’s true, but I always make sure that it isn’t just about the stereotype. It’s a fun thing to challenge some of the classic fantasy models, but that shouldn’t take over the writing as that can really undermine a writer. Piers Anthony was an example where the puns were fun but eventually came to undermine the series. I like having non-stereotypical professions and I enjoyed challenging age perceptions in Way of Kings. Having a romance between a man in his 50s and a woman in her late 40s is unusual in fantasy, where it’s all about the young man falling in love.

    Alloy of Law Milton Keynes signing ()
    #8123 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    How does compounding work in Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I can explain this better in person because I know things that the characters in the book don’t. So, they haven’t worked a lot of this out. All the magic systems in my work are linked because the books all take place in the same universe. In Elantris, magic works by drawing symbols in the air. What actually happens is that when they draw a symbol, energy passes through it from another place (which is my get-out for the laws of thermodynamics) and the effect of that energy is moderated by the symbol. In one case it may become light, in another it may become fire. In Mistborn, the metals have a similar effect. The magic is not coming from the metal (even if some characters think it is). It is being drawn from the same place and moderated by the metal.

    In the case of Feruchemy, no energy is being drawn from this other place. So, you spend a week sick and store up the ability to heal. It’s a balanced system, basically obeying the laws of thermodynamics. So, while it’s not real, it’s still rational.

    In compounding, when you have the power of both Allomancy and Feruchemy, you draw power from the other place through the metal and it recognizes the power that is already stored—"Oh, this is healing, I know how to do that”—and so you get the power of Feruchemy but boosted by energy from the other place. This is how the Lord Ruler achieved immortality.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8128 Copy

    Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

    If a Feruchemist using an aluminum metalmind stored their Identity to zero, then filled a coppermind with all of their knowledge, would another Feruchemist with an identity set to zero be able to access the first Feruchemist's coppermind?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I'm not going to tell you a definite yes or no, this is something that needs to be saved for future books, but you are thinking along the correct lines about how Identity works regarding Feruchemists.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8130 Copy

    Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

    Suppose you had a Feruchemist that was also skilled in Forgery. If they Soulstamped themselves, would they normally be able to still use Feruchemy, and if they were able to use Feruchemy after a Soulstamp would they be able to access their own metalminds?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    You could do so, but it would require jerry-rigging in order to make it work, since the Soulstamp overwrites the current Spiritual aspect of a person. He then said that the accessing the metalminds would also require some amount of jerry-rigging. 

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8133 Copy

    Questioner

    What's it looking like for the book series of The Rithmatist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am writing the second one right now, it is my current project. It is going to be a trilogy. The second one should be out next summer. And they are going to go to South America. It's going to be fun.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8135 Copy

    Questioner

    Concerning everything on Roshar, is it safe to say The Stormlight Archive will become the backbone series of the story of the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are three backbone series: Dragonsteel, Mistborn, and The Stormlight Archive. And Mistborn is past, present, future, Stormlight is the center, and Dragonsteel is the beginning. So really it goes: Dragonsteel, Mistborn, Stormlight, Mistborn, Stormlight, Mistborn is basically how this backbone sequence goes.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8136 Copy

    Questioner

    Where did you get the idea of the Elantris magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The drawing glyphs is based on Korean and Chinese writing systems. I'm Mormon, I served a mission in Korea for two years, loved the writing system and the language. It was part of what inspired me to do that. There is this really cool thing where in Korea they used Chinese characters to write for a long time and they are very difficult to learn because you just have to memorize them and there was a great king, named Sejong, who said, "My people are being mostly illiterate because this is so hard and we don't even speak Chinese, we are not Chinese. We use their characters, can we develop a language, a writing system that will allow us to do this" and his scholars got together and devised Korean which is a way to phonetically write Chinese characters kind of? It's their own thing. You write them in little groups to make little Chinese characters, it's the coolest thing ever. But you can write most Korean things, not everything, most you can write as a Chinese character or as a phonetic Korean construction of three letters that create that Chinese character sound and I liked that idea and it spun me into the idea of the Aons and the Aonic language and things like that.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8140 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    With Lift part of the inspiration was-- Boy, what was the inspiration for Lift? When I was building The Stormlight Archive I said, "I want the Knights Radiant to run the gamut of different character styles, ages, and types of story." And when you say "knight"--when I say knight you imagine one thing. What you don't imagine is a thirteen-year-old Hispanic girl, right? And I said "I want to have the people that are in the Knights Radiant to not be the standard what you think of." They are the entire world's cultures having different people. And so I said "Well, what is somebody who does not fit that mold?" That you would say is not a knight. Lift was partially developed out of me wanting to build a character who was awesome but was so different from what everyone would think of. 'Cause you say knight and they think of white dude in armor, and I wanted something very different from that. And that's where she came from. It also came partially from my wife reading a lot of fantasy and complaining that she's like, "you know the Asians show up in fantasy a lot, Asian culture inspires a lot. European culture of course does. You see a lot of these things but where are the Hispanics?"

    *audience laughs*

    ...Yeah there's one. So she challenged me to put a Hispanic culture in my books because I had never done it before, and so Lift is an outgrowth of that, so are the Herdazians. They are meant to be sort of in the same way that the Alethi are inspired by Korean culture, mashed up with this sort of concept of medieval knights. The same way Shallan is based a little off of Western American/Europe culture. The Herdazians are launching off some of the original Hispanic concepts. So the thing is, you want every culture to be new and original but you are working from somewhere. And the problem is we all work from the same stories for so long that is part of the reason why fantasy is starting to feel so stale.

    Writing for Charity Conference ()
    #8141 Copy

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    A question that has it's roots in Dragonsteel. When Ruin changes words, is he actually changing words,or is he changing what people see?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Did we canonize this question Peter? I'm pretty sure we did. I thought we answered this one already.

    Let's just say that most of the time, Ruin was searching for a place to transition, where he could change what was being trans-transcribed. Or what was being heard, or what was being said.

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    That's pretty interesting. 

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    So the easiest time for him is when a scribe is writing in a new book, he's copying a new book down, and he just pops in and changes the words.

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Okay. That makes sense. 

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8143 Copy

    Questioner

    Lift stands outside Kredik Shaw, her goal is to eat the Lord Ruler's lunch, can she get away with it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think she totally can. She's Lift, she'll just get him while he's sleeping.

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8144 Copy

    Isaac Stewart

    The glyphs don't really relate to pronunciation. You learn them by seeing the glyph and knowing what the word is for that. But the people, the people who create the glyphs have a different process from ones who read them.

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Isaac Stewart

    It can be pretty challenging to draw the glyphs. We usually go through several different iterations of different looks of things before we come up with something that we like.

    Writing for Charity Conference ()
    #8145 Copy

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Is there some reason why both Vin and Kelsier are half-skaa, half-noble, both natural Allomancers, both end up overthrowing the Lord Ruler, and have siblings that are seekers.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Both were heavily influenced by Ruin in doing what they were doing. So there is a connection there, maybe not the one you're looking for, but Ruin was looking for talented Mistborn that were easy to manipulate and talented Mistborn tend to come from talented Mistborn lines, and so Ruin is looking for that, and they both end up fitting that role. And the thing is, is that the half breeds ended up being easier for him to manipulate and easier lost in the shuffle of things, so they weren't paid attention to as much by the Ministry, because the Ministry didn't know about them.

    So it's mostly coincidental for what Ruin's trying to achieve

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8146 Copy

    Questioner

    Did Ben or Isaac design the glyphs in The Stormlight Archive?

    Isaac Stewart

    I did. So here's an interesting thing the-- no I'm not going to tell you that. *lots of laughter* I think it would be a spoiler for Book 3. Bridge Four in Alethi, you guys ready? Vev Gesheh. Vev is the number four, Gesheh is bridge... When I design the glyphs, I always make sure I know how to say it in Alethi before I design the glyph.

    Ben McSweeney

    Is there a reason for that?

    Isaac Stewart

    There is a reason for that.

    Ben McSweeney

    Are you going to tell us what that reason is?

    Isaac Stewart

    Nope. The glyph writing system is just a-- You are supposed to be able to look at it and say "Hey that's--that means bridge" but it could be elongated, it could be changed, it could be--but the same shapes are in there and that means "bridge" or whatever else that is.

    Writing for Charity Conference ()
    #8147 Copy

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Why did OreSeur signup for Kelsier’s plan. Was he forced to because of his contract? Or did he actually want to do it?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    All kandra want to be back in the Homeland. That said, OreSeur, he as a kandra, likes challenges, and was a real method kandra, a lot of them are, but he truly was. And you can see that in him. So for him, the contract and the role he plays... 

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Are more important than what he actually wants.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yeah. Even though he had spent all this time doing this stuff. So he was part of it, but for him, his role was being this person. If I may.

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    That's interesting. 

    JordanCon 2014 ()
    #8148 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid waxes poetic on the idea that the more people expect, the more difficult it becomes for the artist. This is more the critic in me having noticed that my own expectations for a piece play dramatically into how much I enjoy it. Some of my best experiences at the cinema have been films where I had no idea what to expect. The Sixth Sense was like this for me. I had never heard of the film, my friends dragged me to it, they said it's a horror and I said "I'm not sure if I want to watch a slasher pic, but I think it's going to be terrible but whatever." And I watched it and it was a great movie and I came out of it saying, "Wow, I did not expect that." And yet something like The Dark Knight Returns, which is a fantastic film, well done. Yet the second film was so good that I went into the third film and it wasn't quite as good as the second film and I came out and said, "Eh." Where it is a great film and yet my expectations-- It's unfair to the artist but it is the way I think a lot of us work. That our expectations do play a lot into how our experience is for the story. A lot of things when I go into things like that, I'm not trying to let the author speak so much as I'm trying to say what would someone who analyzes art like a critic in my analyzes art what would be an observation they would make. Hoid is not me and he does not voice necessarily my personal opinions, but he is an artist and a critic and so he notices some of the things I notice.