Recent entries

    GollanczFest London ()
    #8101 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    How did it feel writing Syl as a character, transitioning *inaudible*?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It took a long time to figure out how I wanted to do her. It took a lot of practice scenes and such. It was very fun when I finally got to do it, because I'd been planning it for so long. It was really just a matter of trying to get inside the head of this creature who is slowly becoming more and more aware of herself. Having children helps, certainly.

    GollanczFest London ()
    #8102 Copy

    Havoc (paraphrased)

    In Way of Kings, Shallan is being chased by Cryptics. She begins to summon her Shardblade, stops and then Soulcasts for the first time. We know from Words of Radiance that it's her bond to Pattern, her Shardblade that allows her to Soulcast. So my question is, if Shallan had not begun to summon her Blade, would she have been able to Soulcast?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    She would not have been able to. Good question! Wow. No one has ever asked me that before.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8105 Copy

    Questioner

    It's National Novel Writing Month. Do you have any advice for amateur writers jumping into this endeavor?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, NaNoWriMo. I did this for many years before I got published. I was already writing, my friends were all doing it, so I'm like, "Yeah, I'll keep going and, then I won't tell you guys my word count because then you'll feel bad." *laughter* We always had, like, a race board posted on a website, that just posted what the daily count was supposed to be. I often doubled it. So, I was like this even back then. I would say, for you, to-- Number one, don't let the word count goal intimidate you. If you don't get 50,000-- the whole goal is just to get you out of your writing comfort zone. So, for you, 25,000 is where you're going, and you actually still do that, that's fine. 50,000 isn't a novel anyway, they just say it is. I mean it is technically a novel, but I mean, how many novels are 50,000 words? There's not very many. A lot of middle grade is around 50,000 words. I would just go for it. The other thing is, have a daily habit of when you're going to write, and try to make that sacrosanct and get into this habit of, I'm writing for these two hours. And kind of unplug during those two hours and write during those two hours. Worry less about what your word count is you're hitting. Do try to not self-edit. That's the biggest thing that's gonna to help you. If you're not going back and revising and revising and revising, and you're pushing forward-- the goal is to teach yourself to finish something and to push forward and turn off your internal editor.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #8106 Copy

    Questioner

    So like as far as distance traveled in Shadesmar. So when Kelsier is in Shadesmar, he meets the Ire, who are presumably Elantrians. How far did he travel? Is that still within Scadrial's realm of the Cognitive Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's within-- By the time he meets them he has slipped right to the edge of the Cognitive Realm on Scadrial and into, kind of, the darkness between planets. 

    Questioner

    Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's close enough that he can get there. But he's kind of suffused with Scadrian Investiture then, to a point that it would be harder--you saw in there--for him to get further. I would say that he's like... He has entered space between planets, but he's not out of the solar system.

    Questioner

    Okay, so he's still in the Scadrian system, just not--just edging a bit there.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yep. That's what I'd say if I had to actually point him in that <a map>. It gets really fuzzy though, because it wouldn't be too much longer before he enters another solar system. Like, he would pass lightyears in steps as he starts getting further, if that makes any sense.

    Questioner

    That makes sense, because, I mean, with worldhopping in general it's like... You can only... I mean it's... I don't know how the time dilation works per se, but...

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not-- there's not much time dilation. What you've got going on is... Things that people aren't around to think about, things without minds or any sort of life, don't manifest on Shadesmar very much at all. And so the space between planets gets really small, unless there's another planet out there with thinking beings or at least some sort of life on it. Like even lower lifeforms, you'll get something manifesting on Shadesmar. But yeah

    Questioner

    Okay. So the Cognitive Realm, in Shadesmar... It's kind of the... Any kind of sentient or cognitive life-- that's what is building Shadesmar? So like anything where there's blackness... is like... condensed or--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, yes. Particularly if no one's thinking about it. If people are thinking about it - like, for instance, an island in the ocean that was scoured of all life and even bacteria would still manifest in Shadesmar on that planet because people are aware of it and things like this. But one on the other side of the planet, that no one ever knew about it, probably wouldn't.

    Questioner

    So that same island, if people just stopped thinking about it or like stopped being aware of its presence, would it...

    Brandon Sanderson

    It could slowly vanish, yes. And so-- But that's more of a thought experiment. You're never gonna have a planet that that happens to, you know cause-- but thought experiment wise, yes, that would eventually kind of get consumed by Shadesmar and vanish. The same thing would happen to a planet that you strip the atmosphere from--all the bacteria and life dies on it--you know, slowly going to vanish. But a moon will still manifest because people are thinking about it. It'll just not-- it won't-- it'll be hokey, it'll be weird--the moon will be. Like you might find a little patch that represents the moon. Something like that.

    Questioner

    That's interesting.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're not gonna find the full landscape of the moon until people start visiting it. And it's gonna grow on Shadesmar.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8107 Copy

    Questioner

    I also have problems with an English major with creative writing and fantasy. I'm just wondering, how do you get past that? Because I'm also trying to go into teaching, and it's the same with research.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...The first thing you should do as a writer, is you should listen to what those people are saying and teaching and try to learn from them. I think the strength of fantasy and science fiction as genres is that people think the wrong things about our genre. You can find literary writers in science fiction and fantasy. N.K. Jemisin is doing amazing things with literary fantasy right now. You should be reading her books, they're fantastic. Gene Wolf, Ursula Le Guin; they imagine that fantasy is way more strict than it is. So, if you take a class with someone, see what you can learn from them, that's the first thing. The second thing is, don't back down. Write what you want to write, and don't let them talk you out of loving what you love. Go ahead and try new things but apply it to what you think is going to help you, and if you're willing to take the grade hit for it.

    GenCon 2017 ()
    #8108 Copy

    AugustDream

    If you made a sword-shaped nicrosil metalmind, and dumped a lot of unkeyed Investiture into it, could you make a Nightblood-esque Shardblade? And if you actually didn't go to the trouble and just dumped a lot of keyed Investiture into it, would that change the outcome?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're getting close to how this type of thing works but you're missing a few things. Keep working on it.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8110 Copy

    Sylos

    I was happy when Elend finally burned duralumin with atium. I was holding my breath hoping that someone would eventually do it. However we didn't really get any info as to what Elend experienced. Does a duralumin-enhanced atium burn allow a person to see significantly farther into the future? If so, being that Elend's army was dying all around him did he get to see into the afterlife? Also if you could tell us what he saw that would be awesome. Did something he saw make him not want to avoid Marshes strike?

    On a similar note if someone burned electrum with duralumin would they get to see significantly into their own future?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is much here that I can't say, but I'll give as much as I can. Elend saw Preservation's ultimate plan, and Elend's own part in it. What he saw made him realize he didn't want to kill Marsh, and that his own death would actually help save the world. Like a master chess player, he suddenly saw and understand every possible move his enemy could make. He saw that Ruin was check-mated, because there was one thing that Ruin was not willing to do. Something that both Elend and Vin could do, if needed. And it's what they did.

    So, in answer to your question, Elend stayed his hand. This is one of the reasons why I changed my mind and decided that Marsh had to live through the end of the book. Elend spared him; I needed to too.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #8112 Copy

    Questioner

    So at the end of Calamity...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    You did sort of leave me hanging in the dark on a few <favors>. And you said that when you finish a book you sort of go on a little bit.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so, what do you want to know?

    Questioner

    What happened to Jonathan Phaedrus. I've got three theories.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, okay, tell me your theories. *brief interruption*

    Questioner

    My theory is... One, he could self destruct. Two, he could become a dark hero. Three, Megan could develop her talents enough and bring Tia back from the *inaudible* she was in. Or some combination of the other three.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Prof is not heading toward evil. 

    Questioner

    Obviously.

    Brandon Sanderson

    His trajectory is turned away from that. He is very seriously disturbed by what happens. And in the next book...

    Questioner

    Oh, there is another book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If I write another book it will be about Mizzy. Her viewpoint. I haven't promised I will, but-- I mean, in the next book-- I have an outline for the next book, and in that Prof has kind of become a recluse, and things like this. It would be possible to find a Tia from another dimension and bring her through. Prof won't accept that as Tia.

    Questioner

    See that's what I was thinking.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's the problem.

    Questioner

    But I can see him becoming sort of a dark <brooding> hero type...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, so, we'll see. I may not keep to these things when I actually write the book. Write now I have him retiring to-- not retiring, just kind of going off for a while, if that makes sense?

    Questioner

    Maybe he'll go back to teaching science.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And not accepting the Tia from the Firefight dimension as actually Tia.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #8113 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you tell us why he's called "Death"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Because he is seen usually in creepy situations, and looks creepy, and mythology has grown up. Though that one's also a RAFO for the Secret Histories-- that's a real RAFO for the Secret Histories. I might get into that. But you can assume that the allure of... I mean, there's a little more to it. But I mean, let's say you saw him...

    Questioner

    *laughs* That would be... *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'd be like, "Ahhhh!" So... But no, I do intend-- there are little things like that, that if I write Secret History 2 I can get into where some of these legends started. So you'll be able to see some of the starts of those and things like that.

    Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
    #8114 Copy

    rsjac

    Iirc he wrote all the Szeth and Dalinar flashbacks to see which set would fit better in Oathbringer, then settled on Dalinar

    Peter Ahlstrom

    This didn't actually happen. He was planning to do that, but the Dalinar chapters were just too good, and while he wrote them the way the book fit together became organized in his mind.

    Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
    #8115 Copy

    Arkadious4028

    In your opinion, who would win a fight between a Fullborn (with compounding knowledge of the sixteen base metals) and Nicol Bolas?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think Bolas is more powerful in his realm and continuity than your average fullborn is--but that said, we haven't seen any with real mastery of all the metals. But I'd say if you take the lore of the two universes into account, Bolas wins.

    Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
    #8116 Copy

    Khalku

    How do you decide where/what to cut in a project of this size? When you say it reads better, are you constantly reading the whole thing and re-reading?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's exactly how I revise--I re-read the book, making notes about what is working and what isn't, then plan strategies for fixing it. I incorporate beta reader feedback into this. When a section I felt was explosive and interesting gets "meh" responses from the majority of readers, I have to ask myself why, look at the sections again and decide--is this the sort of section I leave as is or change? In some cases, you leave it, as while it might be only okay to some readers, it includes scenes that some others will absolutely love. In other cases, I've miss-evaluated somehow, and need to attack it again.

    This is all done as I re-read the book again, using my notes as a guide on what to fix.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #8117 Copy

    Questioner

    The Sovereign...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    ...has a <nail> in his eye. Which eye is *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am going to RAFO that one. Just in case.

    Questioner

    Has Bloody Tan seen the Sovereign?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *laughs* So... here's the thing-- and this is why I'm RAFO-ing these, it's not because of what you think. I'm RAFO-ing these because these the nature of the Sovereign, and who they call the Sovereign, and these sorts of things is stuff that I want to potentially leave for Secret History 2-- or for [Secret History3, if I write more Secret Histories. So the answers are probably simple, right? And they're not ones that are gonna be mind blowing. But I don't want to lock myself down until I've written those, which is why I'm RAFO-ing most of the questions dealing with this, okay?

    *a moment later Brandon overhears continued conversation about Secret History*

    So, oh, you were asking it that specific way to not give spoilers to someone here? Yeah, I see what you're doing. I see-- I thought you were trying to wiggle out of me something that you weren't trying to wiggle out of me.

    Questioner

    Not everyone here has read...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I get it, I get it. I see what's going on.

    Questioner

    We're not trying to be that *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, okay. I was misinterpreting the intent of those questions a little bit. Yes, being very tricky. Okay. 

    *pauses to sign a book*

    So the answer of which spike is it? I can answer that one? *interruption* Or really I can tell you--it's in my notes, and I don't have them, but it's not particularly relevant--it's the opposite side of the one where Death's skull was crushed. 

    Questioner

    Oh, yes. Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They would look like mirror images if you saw them.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #8118 Copy

    Questioner

    Zahel calls Renarin--he says to Renarin-- I'm sorry, about Renarin... *brief interruption*

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, keep going.

    Questioner

    He calls him "the son of the most powerful human on this..." And I was wondering, the word "human", is that referring to Dalinar or is it referring to maybe Dalinar *inaudible/interrupted*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question! It is referring to Dalinar.

    Questioner

    It is!? So how would you finish that sentence? "The most powerful human on this..."

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Planet."

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #8119 Copy

    Questioner

    When Hoid *inaudible* Shallan in...

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Jah Keved, when she's back in the flashback?

    Questioner

    In the flashback.

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the flashback, yep.

    Questioner

    In--yes--during that experience...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm.

    Questioner

    And at the end of the book, Dalinar has that vision that didn't come from the Stormfather. I was wondering if those are related?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those are not related. Good question.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #8120 Copy

    Questioner 1

    Timeline-wise will Warbreaker 2 come before Stormlight Archive or is it after?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Before the end of the Stormlight?

    Questioner 1

    So Warbreaker 2 would it take place before the start of...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, before. Yeah, Warbreaker 2 chronologically is pre-Stormlight. Before Stormlight 1, yeah.

    Questioner 1

    Pre-Stormlight. Okay.

    Questioner 2

    I'm excited for that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    In fact, chronologically I think it's the exact book before Stormlight 1. I don't think there's anything in between there.

    Questioner 1

    Will the book say why Nightblood's on [Roshar]...

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will at least hint at it. I mean the book is called Nightblood. If it doesn't I'll write a bridge novella to kind of do that.

    Questioner 1

    Bridge the gap?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Bridge the gap. Because the story-- I'm not sure if I can work in everything. Because the story isn't about Nightblood leaving. It's about-- yeah.

    Questioner 1

    Yeah, it's not about that. It's just kind of like a... how did that transition happen.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean, yeah. Vasher's cosmere-aware, and so the more you talk to him the more some of this stuff will come out.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #8121 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So one of the things people have been asking about a lot the nature of Identity and its uses for accessing other people's metalminds, and things like this right. And I hedged a little bit when somebody asked me... *inaudible*...send people into spirals of confusion, so I'm gonna clarify it for now. So, someone comes in and says, we need a blank metalmind, anybody can use that. I'm like, yes but, the reason that it's a hedge is that you need to actually be a feruchemist to access it, right, you can't just hold the blank metalmind not being a feruchemist, even though it's somebody else's investiture that's been blanked, right. So people keep kind of missing this thing. I'm hedging in the sort of, you don't quite have it, I've kind of dodged it, but I worry that it's just going to be confusing.

    So the issue is, you need two things from one of these. You need something that makes you a feruchemist, and then you need a metalmind that somebody else has filled with blank investiture, ok. Now if you can get pure investiture, that can be used by anybody, regardless, ok, you need it in pure form though. But, so there are some other tricks with this as well that don't make it...so anyway, you've got a couple of things that can go on. So you've got a blank metalmind, right, with nothing. You need either investiture, to be able...like you need to be the right type. There are ways to access that if you are completely blank also, if you were a blank slate, but that is still...kind of hard. It's even harder if you are blank, and the metalmind is not blank, but that's not what they're doing in Mistborn right now. You are tapping investiture, gaining the ability of feruchemy and then you are drawing out a blank metalmind, ok. That's the one you need to be...and everything else I'm hedging on intentionally, and I'm worried I hedged in a way that made it sound confusing, ok. So you know now what they're doing. You know that there are other things possible. But I don't want you to think that you have the explanations for how all those things happen, ok.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #8122 Copy

    Questioner

    Could a bloodmaker heal a Shardblade wound?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Could a...whatmaker? Oh, could a bloodmaker heal a Shardblade wound? Um, yes, yes they could. So, what...so, yes, this is possible. (Long pause) Is it possible? I haven't actually thought about it. I have to work through the mechanics of the magics. Jury's out. Jury's out. I've gotta go and look at the actual mechanics, so I'm gonna "jury's out" on that one. That's a read and find out as, you would think I'd figured that one out, because I'm planning for the conflicts but I haven't, like... So what's happening with the healing on Roshar is that they are using Stormlight to bridge the severed soul and glue it back together, right. So, the magic of bloodmaking is different to an extent, in that it is prompting healing directly from the body, right... I'm gonna go with yes, until I look at it but, jury's out.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #8124 Copy

    Questioner

    What would happen if a Parshendi were to attract a spren and bring it into the Highstorm? Like, an Honorspren of some sort?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sapient spren have a choice of whether they get bonded or not, unless you entrap them some way. But simply attracting them...simply going into the Highstorm with one wouldn't work, what you said is 'attracted a spren', so, to answer that actually... The thing is, honorspren, all the spren of Honor and Cultivation, not honorspren capital, Honorspren or whatever... The spren that create the orders of the Knights Radiant have not, in the past, been attracted to Parshendi because of certain events in the past.

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll have to Read and Find Out.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #8127 Copy

    Lirins hand

    *inaudible* changing suits, or is the suit changing *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    (Brandon chuckling) Unfortunately he just changes suits.

    Lirins hand

    Three times?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's one of those things where now when I look at it I'm like, oh that totally looks like I was doing something...no.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #8128 Copy

    Questioner

    Szeth-son-son-Vallano, is that name common, in Shin, or is that something that...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Usually it's, if you only have one son, usually it's... Yeah, the son-son was because he was not considered worthy enough to be worthy of his father. 

    Question

    So is he related to Vallano?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it's the grandson.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #8130 Copy

    Questioner

    Are there any other spren from Odium aside from voidspren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Voidspren is a name for spren from Odium, it covers entire categories of spren.

    Question

    So they're all just generically voidspren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Voidspren is a name for them, yes, but there are sub-divisions of things like this.

    Questioner

    Can you break that down more?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will get that broken down in future books as it becomes more obvious what does what, coz they have their own thing that, I'm just going to stop. That's a RAFO.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #8131 Copy

    Questioner

    Her name, Lift, is it literally like 'lift', the sound, or is it translated from Rosharan, like the word lift?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is translated from Rosharan.

    Questioner

    Is it a nickname?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I'll RAFO that. But that is actually, it's whatever in Rosharan...not in Rosh...in Reshi, whatever in Reshi...and Reshi is the Iriali language family, so...

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #8133 Copy

    Question

    In Stormlight, so many of the names of things are pairs of words, like the glyphpairs or something...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah it's the glyphpairs, those are very big parts. You'll find it common throughout my writing though because, in my studies of languages, I found that most languages that's very common, that's where things come from. English doesn't do it as much, or at least it's not as obvious because we don't have many weird words for things but it's super common throughout linguistics. For Alethi, with the glyphpairs and stuff, it's the way they do things. It's like German, they make a new word by taking two words and smashing them together

    Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
    #8139 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    How about the other way around? Can a Parshendi bond a Knights Radiant spren?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Historically, the Parshendi were not made Knights Radiant, or the parshmen weren't.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Can they become squires maybe?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Historically they did not, but it's not impossible.

    Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
    #8143 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    In the chapter 84 code, does the sequence 111 denote a special character such as a space between words?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I do not believe there is a 111 to separate words unless it was added by Peter when I wasn't looking. I will say this, the key is in another epigraph.