Recent entries

    West Jordan signing ()
    #8101 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 ()
    #8103 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 ()
    #8107 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 ()
    #8108 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 ()
    #8109 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 ()
    #8110 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 ()
    #8111 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 ()
    #8112 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 ()
    #8115 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 ()
    #8118 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 ()
    #8119 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 ()
    #8121 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 ()
    #8122 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 ()
    #8123 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 ()
    #8124 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 ()
    #8125 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 ()
    #8131 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.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #8137 Copy

    Questioner

    My brother and I have been debating about Hoid and how he got his abilities. We have a couple theories. One of them is Hemalurgy. The other has to do with the portals into the worlds themselves, because the birds in Sixth of Dusk--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ok, he doesn't have Hemalurgy right now. He has powers that predate the Shattering of Adonalsium. Not all of his powers predate, but he does have powers that predate.

    Questioner

    Ok, so I was wrong on both counts then. Am I wrong on both counts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not saying that, I'm saying that he does have powers that predate but he has also gained powers since.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #8140 Copy

    Questioner

    When it comes to like, touring and stuff like that, how do you pick these locations?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sometimes, it's my publisher, sometimes it's me saying let's go somewhere different. And sometimes it's places where I've come a lot where they do a good job, like when I come to a store like this, I feel like they do a good job, so I put a good report into the publisher and say, feel free to send me back to that store.

    Questioner

    Ok, because I'm a student at Sunset University, and I have a lot of people who are fans there, and I'd love it if you know--

    Brandon Sanderson

    The best way to get me into places like that is if you have a local convention, science fiction convention, having them invite me to be guest of honor, I do that sort of thing a lot.

    Firefight San Francisco signing ()
    #8141 Copy

    Questioner

    I struggle because I go through books so quick, and so I've gone through a lot of your recommendations, and a lot of other recommendations from other people on reddit, on your reddit page, but where do you find books that you read?

    Brandon Sanderson

    These days normally it is people ask me for cover quotes. And so what people send in, I read the first few pages, or my wife, she reads voraciously and what she finds-- Like The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, I got that from her, if you haven't read that it's really good. It's like half non-fiction book, well it's all non-fiction but half like science writing and half biography, it's really cool. Definitely check out Uprooted when it comes out, that's very good. You've read the Hyperion books?

    Questioner

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ok, what else is good that you may not have really read? My recommendations right, if you've read Guy Gavriel Kay...

    Bystander

    Yeah...the student of yours who wrote a book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah yeah Brian McClellan's. You've read Brain McClellan's? You've read everything! Something old and long...Elric [by Michael Moorcock]. Elric's pretty decent. It depends on if you like heroic fantasy, you know more of-- that, and David Gemmel, both of those heroic fantasy, try one, see if you like that style there's a ton of them out there.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #8142 Copy

    Questioner

    The Nahel bond, what determines whether you get a Cryptic or an honorspren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The spren themselves.

    Questioner

    So it doesn't have to do with the Orders of the Knights Radiant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you match, you have to attract the spren, the same way you attract emotionspren, you have to attract the right spren for the Order.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #8143 Copy

    Questioner

    Since Hoid is the Horneater god, are there, or at least implied, would other Shards--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid is not a Shard.

    Questioner

    Or other Shards that are related to Hoid, since they are in the same time period. Would they also be Horneater gods?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that the Horneaters might interpret things very differently from their reality, as they are viewing certain things happening--

    Questioner

    So would they originally be from Roshar, or would they have travelled from somewhere else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO, it depends on the person. Hoid is not originally from Roshar.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #8144 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there a way to tell between different Investitures?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. 

    Questioner

    For each Shard.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, for each Shard? Each Shard-- Most of the magics have built into them that ability, but I wouldn't say that everyone does. I am trying to remember if they all do... I lot of them have a power that would allow you to do that, but I don't know if every one of them does.

    Questioner

    No, I mean that, in the ones that do have [this ability], they can tell the difference between each one.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you were really good at burning bronze, you could use bronze to distinguish between different types of Investiture from different planets even. And that sort of skill does exist in other magic systems.

    Argent

    Is it like a wavelength kind of thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yea, that's exactly what it is.

    Footnote: It looks like Brandon misinterpreted the original question but eventually answered it, after a clarification.
    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #8146 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there a limit to how many Shardblades you can have? Be bonded to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Theoretically, not really. There are some things that could bound that. I can imagine people having a lot. In the original draft of The Way of Kings (2002) Amaram had two. And so, it's definitely possible to have multiples, and I had not thought of someone trying to bond every Shardblade. 

    Questioner

    So that means you can be bonded to more than one spren.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, those Shardblades... Can you be bonded to more than one spren? That question's answer is also yes. Potentially. But there is a much harder limit on that.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #8148 Copy

    Questioner

    If you were to use Allomancy to fly faster than light, would it be like the Navigators in Dune, where you pick out the best possible route through the stars?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, good question though! That's not quite the way, I haven't really given you the tools to figure it out, because I feel that the tools to figure it out, I couldn't give to the characters early enough. I wanted it to progress with the technological development, so hints are only just really brief in the story. 

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #8149 Copy

    Questioner

    May I ask you what your revision process is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My revision process is very goal-oriented. I decide what I want to change about the book, I write it all in a big notes file, and I organize them by how important it is and how far-reaching the changes are. And then I start revising with <the file> open beside me, always watching to make tweaks to fit the goals I have established.

    Questioner

    Oh, okay. And do you find yourself able to remember everything you've written when you go back and--

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, that's why-- you got your document here and you've got your revision file here and watching [the revisions file] while revising I'm trying to clear things off this list, and then things near the bottom will move up. And I'll sometimes need to do two or three drafts to clear everything off the list, but being goal-based in it helps me a lot.

    Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
    #8150 Copy

    Questioner

    The prevailing theory on the 17th Shard is that [Hoid] worldhops using Shadesmar. I was wondering if you were willing to confirm or deny that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid has indeed gotten between worlds before through Shadesmar.

    Questioner

    And would you be willing to give us a hint as to how he does that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are hints in the books. There is a hint in the very first cosmere book I released [Elantris]. [...] Which I thought was a huge hint, but so far I haven't seen anyone talking about it.

    Argent

    Really?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mmhmm. [...] I thought that once people started figuring the Cosmere, they would see the massive in-your-face hint I put in that book, but so far, as far as I know, no one has. *brief conversation about Brandon's tendency to drop sneaky hints and how he likes doing that* Now, the one [hint] about the map [of Roshar], that one I don't think is obvious. I know people have been trying to figure it out. It's something fun once you figure it out, but it's not something huge and obvious. The Elantris once was, like, enormously "HIIINT!"