Recent entries

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8251 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    When do we get to officially get to know what's going on in the Cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    All of my epic fantasy books are connected with continuing characters. That's a way off, and that's because I don't want people to feel like they have to have read all my previous books to enjoy the series. It should be about the characters. Eventually I will write one that's a mashup, but we're not there yet. I'll be very upfront about it when I do it. For now it's just easter eggs.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8253 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    When do you expect to finish Shadows of Self?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It was on the schedule for this fall to finish, but the third Stormlight book has pushed that aside, so it'll probably be the next book after that.  Tom Doherty didn't want to have a four-year gap twice in a row, and I don't want to let it go so far. It's better to establish that I'll be doing Stormlight regularly before deviating. When I pitched Mistborn to my editor, I pitched a series going to modern times to space opera in the same universe. There will be another trilogy of thick books at 1980s technology, I pitched to my editor as "Tom Clancy Allomancy" and we will eventually get to the space opera, which will be allomancers in space.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8258 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Speaking of Rothfuss, can you tell us how far along he is...

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No, I don't know how far along Pat is, when I hang out with Pat I don't ask him because he gets that enough.  I'll tell you this, in my outline from ten years ago, the third book is named Stones Unhallowed, and his third book is named Doors of Stone. So either I've got to beat it or change it - I thought, "I have to write this book faster".

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8259 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Travel time frame of reference - how long is a day's ride?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    There's two answers. One is the official answer, and that depends on the horse, what you're feeding the horse, how you're pushing the horse - I think a wagon can go 1-2 miles an hour, a good horse if you're trading horses can go further. My expectation that it's usually 20-30 miles but that's pushing the horse hard. You're usually not going that much faster than people can walk, 2-3 miles an hour. Humans are better at going long distance than horses. But horses are more comfortable and can sprint if they need to. This is not something that I do a ton on because most of my books take place in one location - that's what we're looking at for a day's ride. Eight hours between 16 and 24 miles, but someone can correct me if they know better.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8260 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Strategies for the Sagging Middle.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Middles are tough. My experience has been that the writer thinks the middle sags more than it does, because you're not at the exciting beginning wherever everything's fresh and not at the end with the climax. Stagger the climaxes. For instance, Words of Radiance, I built it and plotted it like three books with multiple climaxes from major characters at the end of part 1, at the end of part 3, and at the end of the whole thing. It'll make your novel read like a trilogy.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8261 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Best fantasy author debuted in the last year

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Brian McClellan with the Powdermage books, but that's a year and a half ago so it doesn't count. I'm reading a book right now by one of my former students that's really good but it's not published yet. Most of the books I've read in the last year are either friends or things I needed to catch up on.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8266 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    I've lost track of the number of magical systems that you have created and I was just wondering if you could say a little bit about your process of creating magical systems.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    What I'm looking for is something interesting. It is kind of hard to explian, because to create a magic system, I've read a lot of fantasy, and personally I feel that one of my duties is to push the genre in different directions. There was a period where our worldbuilding was not as extensive as it should be. Stuck as we were for a while, it felt like the genre hit a bit of a rut, and I wanted to push it in different directions. The screwy magic systems I create are part of that. I feel excited about them, it's sometihng I feel ?? Google Sanderson's First Law.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8268 Copy

    AhoyMatey (paraphrased)

    Are the Parshendi at the village the only Parshendi there are? Besides for the Parshmen...

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The Parshendi as a people were all at Narak. Barring any scouts and things like that. That doesn’t mean that there might not be any other Parshmen out there that have bonded spren, but they would not have been part of this nation – any more than if you found another human that they may not necessarily be American.

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8270 Copy

    AhoyMatey (paraphrased)

    I picked up the Easter Eggs for Mraize being a Worldhopper. It was actually the sand that did it, having been fortunate enough to read White Sand.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Now there’s something odd about that sand. What color is the sand in WoR?

    Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
    #8271 Copy

    AhoyMatey (paraphrased)

    Is there anything that I should have asked that I didn’t?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Probably not… Do you know if anyone has figured out the hidden things in the map of Roshar?

    AhoyMatey (paraphrased)

    Commentary: We discussed the pattern 15 code for a bit. I’m glad it’s been solved! He said that it wouldn’t be earth shattering, but it would be cool to know. And boy, it was!

    West Jordan signing ()
    #8278 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 Sand trilogy. 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 ()
    #8281 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 ()
    #8285 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 ()
    #8290 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 ()
    #8294 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 ()
    #8296 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 ()
    #8297 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.