The Second Letter, Frost mentions a gemstone, is that in the Moon Scepter?
No, good question. That is a topaz, which was associated with him for a long time and had some mystical properties.
The Second Letter, Frost mentions a gemstone, is that in the Moon Scepter?
No, good question. That is a topaz, which was associated with him for a long time and had some mystical properties.
There's a WoB on Theoryland that if Hoid was tempted by a Shard it'd be Endowment. Why is that?
There's a word on Theoryland that if he was tempted by a shard it'd be Endowment? Things in his past, that make sense. Will make sense once you know him more.
Sazed is Harmony, so does he rule over all of the worlds? Or just--
So he's not involved in the others?
He is not really involved in them. I mean he's aware, and increasingly aware of things, but he is focused on one.
Who would win in a debate between Lightsong and a stick?
*laughs* Ah the Stick would probably!
The dark orb in the Stormlight prologue, is that native to Roshar? Or could it be from somewhere else?
I'm gonna explain what that is in the next book, so I'm going to RAFO that.
Mistborn Era 1, Elend had a lot of books in his library, and he really wanted to become a better leader. Would there have been any books from other Shardworlds that could have ended up in his library?
That is possible, but he did not read any.
And I have one more question that sort of relates to The Wheel of Time, which I’m reading right now. So Shai in Emperor's Soul has a couple of different personas, right? And some of them have versions of her name. Were she to create a version of herself that is as chaotic and evil as possible, an embodiment of chaos that is capable of reaching throughout the multiverse and--
Oh Shai'tan! *laughs* I did not think of that, there you go Shai, that's where she came from.
The most powerful character ever apparently.
That's right. *laughs* Shai, the Dark One.
Does Roshar have a magnetic field?
Um, Roshar, magnetic field, yes, it does. Yes. Yeah it does
You said at one point that it is all one plate--
--that there's no tectonic activity. What is the interior of the planet like?
That’s a good question... You're not going to get an answer on that one. It's a weird planet, let's just say that. It's a pretty weird planet
Are the diamonds naturally occurring?
Yes, but most are going to be-- They aren't-- all gemstones are naturally occurring, but most of, many or most of, the gems they are getting they are getting from creatures that grow them, not from the rock. Though there are mines on Roshar, you just have to-- most of them are on the leeward side of mountains, where the crem isn't being deposited.
So, diamond mines are about tectonics--
It was a created planet, keep that in mind.
Can Odium or any other [Shards] edit text like Ruin could? ...Or is that a special Ruin thing.
This is possible for others as well. The trick about it is, [Ruin] saturated everything on Scadrial in a way that not all Shards saturate their planets.
Okay, what do you mean "saturate"?
Creating it, does that make sense? And so this was partially an aspect that everything on that planet, every atom was, y'know, had him in it... I mean he didn't create the atoms, let's say that, but yeah... The whole planet existence and particularly the people on it are [Ruin], attuned to [Ruin].
Someone asked you last year if the Unmade could be bonded and you said technically yes. Have we seen any evidence of this, or will we?
Uhh, you-- Eh-- Not yet, no. It doesn't really happen. Technically it could but it just doesn't really happen.
Are the Unmade seeking anything on Roshar?
The Unmade, are they seeking anything? Technically yes.
And are they attracted to something on Roshar?
They are both of the above. And also you said--
The Unmade are not all necessarily sapient. Keep that in mind. Not sapient always in the way that we think of sapience.
Dalinar, his memory issues, are they his boon or his curse?
You will actually find out. That's coming. I’m not going to tell you that. You've got a whole flashback sequence dealing with this sort of stuff.
Could you have a good conversation with Adonalsium, back in the day?
Back in the day? I actually have to RAFO that because I actually haven't said whether Adonalsium was a force or an individual. So it is an excellent question, no one has asked me that before, but it's not one I can answer.
That was a bit of a sneaky one, because it seems like it would be an easy one to answer, but it gives away too much
Why are there so many Kholins that are Radiants? Is there a story reason or...
There is a story reason, kind of. So the Kholin family is in Alethkar, which was the hereditary-- one of the homes of the Knights Radiant. It's still kind of in the forefront of the-- how shall we say-- the collective unconscious and things like this. Plus there's--
And then they are on the forefront of that.
Yes. I mean-- Yeah. And so the spren, some of them are naturally looking for where a lot of Radiants used to be. So it's just a higher concentration of spren around the area, if that makes sense?
I finished Shadows of Self and TenSoon is still wearing the dog body, why is that?
Because he found he liked it.
Really? Because he hated it so much.
He did, he actually changed back and just didn't like it, he couldn't adapt. So he went back to what he had found very familiar now.
Has any of the Shards, outside of the Greater Roshar system, had a champion before, like...
Outside of? Yes.
So I take it that a spren exists simultaneously in both the Physical and Cognitive Realms...
But are they conscious simultaneously of what's happening in both.
No, they do have to transition.
They have to transition. And does a spren's intelligence affect its ability to transition? So like a more intelligent type of spren finds it more difficult to move over--
Yep-- But the moving over creates a lot of-- Yeah, like some of the ones you'll sometimes see, you'll think that they are-- Some of the spren that aren't intelligent are actually mostly in the Cognitive Realm and you're seeing a manifestation here, but they're not really conscious of what's going on here, they're responding to stuff in the Cognitive Realm.
Ok so they could be pretty damn clever but there's no one to talk to?
I make cocktails, and I want to make cocktails based on the characters, have you got any ideas? Particularly Kaladin and Vin, what would they drink?
...Kaladin and Vin, ah boy. Vin wants something simple, I mean she's going to want something to relax, so maybe something fruity and simple. Kaladin, he'll want something stiff, right, something hard...
The next one actually has a mixed drinks scene. Fortunately, you'll be happy to know, I went to a bartender friend to get some advice on how to make it work, so... If you make Kaladin's stiff and blue, that might be good because of Alethi blue.
With spikes, would you be able to actually transfer Breaths, when they get to the other planets?
So spikes rip off pieces of the soul and so Breaths are not going to be part of the soul. You could maybe get a divine Breath but I haven't really decided on regular Breaths, they're kind of stuck there in the Physical Realm which is not a thing that spikes are dealing with. Divine Breath, potentially, because that's something that's actually melding onto your soul. But, you know, when you're using the Breaths they reach through to the Spiritual Realm so, maybe if you got it while the Breaths were kinetic, right, while you're using them, then you might be able to rip them off. I'm not a hundred percent certain on that one.
There's still things to decide upon.
Yeah there's still things, like I have to kind of see. My instinct says no right now. But, you know, how they interact is not something that I have-- Yeah.
Is Mistborn: The Final Empire based on the French Revolution.
Yes it is. Specifically the stuff with Elend.
It must be very difficult to write Dalinar, since it's--
Yeah he's a very different person, it's kind of brutal to write him now. But it works, it's a good counterpoint.
*inaudible* Shallan and Kal are both younger, so you have less to write about than Dalinar?
Oh yeah the flashbacks cross about 20, 30 years with Dalinar so it is a challenge. But you get to see a lot of sweeping changes in his personality which is really fun.
What's [Wayne's] effect from his Twinborn abilities?
I don't think I've released that yet.
[Wayne] seems to impersonate other people--
That also is just him. There's nothing really supernatural going on, he's just really good at this.
Wayne, his inability to pick up guns, is there anything else to it or is it just psychological?
It's just psychological, and you'll see Shadows of Self, we talk about it a little bit. It's post traumatic stress disorder.
I was reading the first book-- The Way of Kings, there is a scene-- no a Letter. Is that scene-- the person who is sending the Letter says that the Shards in Elantris are broken-- sorry they're, like, [Splintered], and they can’t be used again. How is that so, because if there was Adonalsium which Shattered and people took the Shards.
There are those who believe you could put the pieces back together and their are those who believe you can't, and shouldn't.
You shouldn't put them back--
There are some who believe that.
So will they be able to put it back together?
Well there are some who believe it is possible. *laughter*
Congratulations, you win a RAFO card! RAFO is something Robert Jordan would say, that means Read And Find Out and I print out little cards so at least you get something. That means "I'm sorry I can't answer your question but I'm really not that sorry otherwise I would answer it"
Where do you get your people from? Do you take inspiration from people you know in real life?
Yes, yes I do. Sometimes, sometimes not. As I said, usually the seed that starts a character for me as I grow them is a conflict. For Kaladin it's the conflict between being trained as a surgeon and finding out you are really good at killing people, and how do you deal with that. For some it can be very simple, for Sarene I had a friend who is a woman that is 6 foot 2, or whatever she is, *to the side* How tall is Annie? She's tall. Anway, Annie's tall, and she always complains about how tough it is to be a tall woman. Which is something I never thought of, I'm like "I'm going to use that. I'm going to make use of that in a story," Of course that isn't her whole personality, but that little seed, you drop down and I grow a personality around it as I try someone out... That person I knew, a piece of her turned into a character. For other things, it's just trying and trying and trying untill something works, as I explained before. It is "What has their life done to them", often times it's "What are the passionate about? What do they want? Why can't they have what they want?" Those sorts of things lead me into creating a character
So in Words of Radiance you've got a character called Wit, who has a conversation with Kaladin in which he uses the phrase "bunny rabbit" which obviously doesn't exist in the language that Kaladin speaks. So my question is where and when did the language that he used come from?
So Hoid, or Wit, is actually try-- using magical means to communicate and so when he says a word it just transliterates it or just doesn't translate it into anything in that language. So you'll notice him slipping up on a number of occasions-- he is the only one who uses certain words in the course of-- That's not the only one in The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, because he's just speaking normally and allowing his other means to translate for him. And that's a sign, a symbol, of that happening.
So what you've got there is the beginnings of me exploring an idea I had many years ago, about a world where bacteria and viruses would grant magical abilities in order to keep you alive long enough to spread the disease. It's this basic survival instinct, if they were somehow able to grant this. So you catch the common cold and you can fly, until you get over it and you can't anymore. I thought "Wow, you would need some super CDC soldiers--right? Center for Disease Control--to keep this from getting out of control." his is kind of a cross between counter-terrorism and the CDC, in a fantasy world where when you catch a disease you get a magic power. Pretty weird.
Basically Bridge Four, the starting sequence was one of the most intense things I have ever read in my life. I was in tears, I couldn't stop it, to the point I kept flipping through to the next Bridge Four part. I was just wondering where you got the inspiration to go so dark with Kaladin and what he went through.
That's an excellent question. Bridge Four in the original Dragonsteel was a happy accident, back then I wasn't as good at outlining as I am now. I kind of got to this place and went "Huh, I want to do something interesting here" and I kind of discovery wrote myself into it. It didn't work nearly as well as it did in Way of Kings, but that's because I was still figuring it out. I think the original inspiration was-- Something that I like to do with Fantasy is take the geography and see how the unique geography of the area influences the culture of the people who are living there, in this case the warfare, a subset of the culture interaction. This happens with the weather on Roshar as well. I think this is something Fantasy allows us to do, to explore what is fantastical, yet keep it very grounded in the human experience because I find books interesting when I'm interested in the characters. Having this cool place, the Shattered Plains, is not nearly as awesome as having this cool place and "oh no the people I like are dying here". This idea was one of the ideas, I think the inspiration was medieval siege warfare and just how awful that sounds to me. Having to be one of these people running a ladder to climb up the wall. Just "Okay, here's your ladder, good luck". This idea of just having to run into the face of something terrible, to know you are probably going to lose your own life or your friends are going to lose theirs was just so awful to consider. And when that happens, as a writer you are like "Oh I got something. That sounds awful, I'm going to write about it" That's just what we do. Anything that inspires powerful and profound emotion in myself is something I look to use in my books because I figure if it inspires profound emotion in myself it will work on the page to do the same thing with my characters.
I really want to know what the last two metals are. I always thought the bead Elend ate was one of them, but perhaps they are just things of Preservation, not meant to be understood
The metal chunk that Elend ate is intended to be something of a mystery. Much like atium, actually. Suffice it to say that atium isn't, and never was, what people thought it was.
I intended Allomancy to be much like a real science. People investigate and put things into boxes, trying to describe and understand the world around them. That doesn't mean they always get things right, however.
Let me say this, as I don't want to spoil too much. If that metal Elend ate were fused into specific alloys with certain metals, it could have instead created Mistings of each of the different Allomantic powers. Atium's abilities are not entirely explored yet either.
Also, are koloss just naturally bad-tempered, even without Ruin's influence? Cause the koloss are still taking swipes at Sazed immediately after the merger. (And, does Sazed zap all the koloss? Did they all get toasted by the sun? But what about Human and his friends underground? Are there still koloss around? Just wonderin'.)
Koloss were bad tempered before Ruin's influence, though he certainly made them worse. They were designed by the Lord Ruler to be aggressive, so aggressive that they would destroy themselves if they got loose and away from him. (This was intentional. Note that he didn't give the spark of humanity in them enough credit, and they managed to overcome this and 'evolve' in a way to keep their species going, even after he died.)
There ARE still koloss around, though many of them were vaporized. Human is alive. Sazed took pity on them, however, and they have been transformed. They are now a race that breeds true, like the kandra, and have different thought processes from what they once had. You'll see more of them in the sequel series.
I can guess two possible options for the kandra.
1. God Sazed endowed the gift of presence on the now mistwraiths.
2. Some of the kandra survived in the cave with the Terrisman and people of the city, along with the small mistwraiths, these are re-born with the spikes they pulled out during the resolution.
I can imagine too that some kandra on assignment may have hidden in the shelters with the rest of humanity.
Yes, they live. The people were smart enough, eventually, to replace their spikes. (And there were a couple who were on assignment who made it to storage caches.)
However, there will likely never be any more of them, since Hemalurgy is required to make them. They are now some of the few people who can communicate directly with Sazed, who—like Ruin—can whisper to people most easily when they are connected to him via spikes. With some speculation, you can probably guess what kind of roles the kandra will end up playing in future books.
On a broader level, is Hemalurgy officially dead, then? Or is it still extant in some Ruin-free (but still messy) form? (If it's gone, is there any imbalance since Preservation's magic power is kept and Ruin's isn't?)
Is Hemalurgy dead? No, not at all. It, like the other two powers, was not created by Ruin or Preservation, but by the natural state of the world and its interaction with the gods who created it. It still requires the same method of creation, but very few people are aware of how it works.
How do you become a beta reader?
People always want to know this! We have beta and gamma readers. Alpha reads are only my agent and my writing group. Beta readers are people from fandom who have proven that they know their stuff and are a part of the community. Peter picks these from people who are on my Facebook, who are interacting with him there, or who are on the 17th Shard. There's no promises you can get in on this. We do change it every book and get some new people, because sometimes we just want people to give fresh eyes on something.
Gamma reads, if you want to read things early, are bug hunters. They can spot a type form a hundred paces. If you are really good at finding typos, you can go to the thread on the 17th Shard, for every book there is a thread, a forum thread that talks about typos. And if you are consistently finding typos no one else has found, chances are good Peter will be like, "Hey, do you want to proofread for us?"
But don't feel like you have to do this because it actually diminishes the book a little bit, even though you get to do something cool, because it's not in its final form yet. I don't like beta reading when I don't have to, I'd prefer reading something with polish.
How do you keep everything straight in your head?
So, it's kinda weird. I forget my keys. I forget what day it is, I'm one of these types, right. But stories, I don't forget. Stories are in there. Part of the help for this, though is I do use a wiki, called wikidpad, it's, like, a personal wiki thing. And I stuffed a whole bunch of it in there, not all of it, but a whole bunch of it. I actually have someone whose job it is to go through each book, add in all the new details and things like this to keep kind of a personal encyclopedia of the Cosmere, for myself, for reference that I can be working with as I'm building things.
So, yeah, it's a mixture of tools, my own personal weird brain psychology, and good help and forum assistance. Like, if you read one of my early drafts, there's, like, so many continuity errors. So many, right? Because there's just stuff I... like, when you're writing, you're not thinking about. And your fingers, they just type it. Or, like, I forget, like... one of the things I have to do for a Stormlight is I have to go through and add in way more spren. Because it's just so unnatural to us to have emotionspren, that first draft, I don't even worry about them. Like, get down what's happening, and then I will highlight where the spren appear. It's almost like I do post-production on my books. But, even still, to this day, I write silver when I mean tin in Mistborn, because for years it was silver was that power. Like, it's been ten years since it was silver, that I changed it to tin, but even still my fingers type silver. And the alpha readers and beta readers are like, "Oh, there's a silver in here! We found one!" Like for years, Clubs, I think it was Clubs, and... I had two of the powers swapped for the... anyway, so there's all that. And then there's all the stuff that I forget I changed in revision in previous books.
So, it's not like I'm photographic memory who keeps all this. I have a good team, a good process, and enough up here that we can make a good book come together. But those early books... don't become an alpha or beta reader for me unless you're willing to be like, "Okay. Canon is not here." Like, in the Lift chapter, there was even a place where I'm like, "I think this is connected. I wanna connect this to something in the Cosmere, but I can't remember what it is. Karen, can you look up some of this and see, so I can make sure that I can..." I think it's in there. And then in the beta read document, everyone's like, "Oh, you can do this! You can do this! You can do this!"
No that wasn't in Lift!
Yeah, it is! I just went and looked at it. Maybe Karen posted that quote that I gave her, maybe Peter pulled it out, and she posted it in the document later on.
How does time work in the Cosmere? Or a better question to ask: are any of the books happening at the same time in the Cosmere?
I'm gonna have to look at the timeline. Most of them do not happen concurrently. Mostly they have been at distinct points. But the closer we get to modern and future era Mistborn world, the more overlap there is between them, just kind of by necessity 'cause they eventually start ramming together. So, the further we get in the Cosmere, the more likely things are overlapping.
So, I don't know that we've had anything actually overlap yet, in fact I'm pretty sure that we haven't, unless you count some of the short fiction might overlap. But even then, I don't think anything big overlaps, but it will start happening soon.
Also, you should tell us what the last two metals are.
The last two metals are chromium and nicrosil. We'll reveal what they do on the Allomancy poster. Suffice it to say that in the next trilogy, the main protagonist would be a nicrosil Misting. And, to make a Robert Jordan-type comment, what those two metals do should become obvious to the serious student of Allomancy... (It has to do with the nature of the metal groupings.)
If I read the poster correctly, and have the correlations down, these metals are the external enhancement metals.
The simplest idea is that they do to another person what aluminum and duralumin do to the Allomancer burning them. If this is true, then chromium would destroy another Allomancer's metals (useful skill, that, especially in a group of Mistings fighting a Mistborn) while nicrosil would cause the target's metals that are currently burning to be burned in a brief, intense flash. This could be used either to enhance a group of Mistings or to seriously mess up an enemy Allomancer.
The other metals do not have exact one-to-one power correlations like that, so it seems more likely to me that they would work differently. It could be like an area effect weakening or enhancing spell. You would want an enhancer in your party, and you wouldn't want to go up against a weakener.
Nicrosil is a rather more complicated alloy than the others. It's an interesting one to pick, rather than something simpler like nichrome (though I guess that's actually a brand name).
Ookla is right, the others don't have 1/1 correlations. But I liked this concept far too much not to use it.
In a future book series, Mistborn will also have become things of legend. The bloodlines will have become diluted to the point that there are no Mistborn, only Mistings—however, the latter are far more common. In this environment, a nicrosil Misting could be invaluable both as an enhancer to your own team or a weapon to use against unsuspecting other Mistings.
I take it either Spook did not have children or Sazed made him a reduced-strength Mistborn rather than giving him the full potency of the 9 originals and Elend?
Spook is a reduced power Mistborn.
Very interesting about the nicrosil.
So, if there is no more atium, then that would mean in any future trilogy, there would only be 14 metals, right? Somehow, that doesn't seem right, but maybe that is because it irks me that one quartet to be left incomplete with the absence of atium.
Would it be possible for Sazed to create a replacement metal, by chance, or will the temporal quartet remain inherently empty? It doesn't seem like it's too far of a stretch for Sazed to make more metals: after all, the metal Elend ate was a fragment of Preservation, and now Sazed holds Preservation.
That's a RAFO, I'm afraid. Suffice it to say that what the characters think they understand about the metals, they don't QUITE get right. If you study the interaction between the temporal metals, you might notice an inconsistency in the way they work...
Uh-huh. That was already noticed by theorizers in the forums here. Gold works like malatium and electrum works like atium. Yet they're on opposite corners of the metal square.
Ah. I wondered if that had been noticed.
Marsh? The book doesn't mention him after he fights with Elend.
Marsh is alive. I changed this from when I talked to [Peter]. I realized some things about his use of Allomancy that would allow him to survive. Actually, he is immortal. He can pull off the same Allomancy/Feruchemy trick that the Lord Ruler did. (And he knows it too, since he was there when Sazed explained how it was done in Book One.) He's actually the only living person who actually knows this trick for certain. (Though there's a chance that Spook, Ham and Breeze heard about it from Vin and the others.) So yes, if there were another series, Marsh would make an appearance.
I thought that trick required atium and involved burning the atium. With all the atium gone and Sazed not making any more, it would therefore not be possible even for a full mistborn/feruchemist. Am I wrong, is Sazed providing atium specifically for Marsh to allow a friend and valuable servant to survive, or what?
Marsh has the bag of atium that KanPaar sent to be sold, as well as several nuggets in his stomach. So, I guess 'immortal' is the wrong phrase. He's got the only remaining atium in the world and can keep himself around for a long, long while—but he WILL eventually run out. Unless Sazed does something.
Just wanted to say, great work on the book. It kept me completely occupied from around 11 am to 8 pm and I have got to say that it had the most well thought out ending ever put into a book.
Also, do you have any plans for more Mistborn books? Or is this the end?
Okay, I was expecting these. Let's get to them first.
More Mistborn Books
My plans right now are to do a second trilogy of Mistborn books set several hundred years after the events of the first series. That means that technology would have progressed, and there's a good chance I'll decide to do the books as kind of an urban fantasy. (But set in a completely different world from our own, so not quite like other urban fantasies.) Guns, skyscrapers, cars—and Allomancy.
Now, I'm not 100% decided on that. I know that adding modern technology ruins the fantasy flavor of a book for many people, so I'll have to think about it. But I think the imagery would be compelling, and I would love to deal with a 'modern' world where the events of this trilogy form the foundation for the religions, history, and society of the book. It would be a really challenge, since I'd have to decide how technology and society developed following this book.
I asked if the Aimians as a race were, as I suspected, closer to the Cognitive Realm, and whether they are somehow related to the Parshendi.
Brandon started by saying there are 2 sub races of Aimians for a start, and Axies the Collector is of 1 set, we have yet to meet the other but we will!
He did say there is 'Something' going on with the Aimians and their interaction with the Cognitive Realm but wouldn't elaborate on that point.
He then went on to say that Aimians are not in fact related to Parshendi at all, but the Horneaters and Herdazians are!
This cosmere that you have is gigantic, enormous, and wonderful, by the way. But, it's one of those things... how long has that been kicking around in your head before you started putting it down on paper?
For those who aren't aware, and might just be here having read the Reckoners, all of my epic fantasy books are connected. But they're all connected through little cameos. And I did this before Marvel movies, let's just point that out! They're copying me, I'm sure. I'm sticking to that. But there's little cameos for the various things because there's a story behind the story. I started doing this because I knew, in my career, I was going to have to... just the way I am, I need to jump between worlds to keep myself really interested. But I also like big epics. So it's me trying to have my cake and eat it, too, right? Lots of little things, but a hidden big epic. Right now it's all cameos, you don't have to worry about it, it's never really relevant to the story. Each story is self-contained. And then, if you want more, you can dig into it, and... it goes pretty deep. The guy who bought the Emperor's Soul movie rights was like, "Oh, I hear that this is connected," so he went and started reading. And, like, a few months later, he called us and said, "Uhhh, I just read the whole Cosmere. Uhhh, my brain is breaking." So, you can jump down a rabbit hole with the Cosmere if you want.
So, how long has this been kicking around? I can trace it back to a couple of events in my youth, as a budding writer. First one was, I've talked about this idea that you're the director of the book when you read it. When I was a kid, what I would always do is, I would want to have some sort of... it's hard to explain. I wanted some control over the story, even though it was a book I was reading, I wanted to participate, and so I would always insert a character behind the scenes. Like, in the Anne McCaffrey books, when there's somebody who's a nobody, I'm like, "Actually, this is some secret agent type character," and things like this. And I would always insert these characters into the books. But I would even be like, "Oh, this is the character from this other book, that I'm now reading." I would have my own headcanon, is what you call it, that would be parallel to the book canon, with this story behind the story happening. I also remember really being blown away when Isaac Asimov tied the Robot books and the Foundation books together, and thinking that was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen. Where I'd loved these two book series, and the conclusion to them is interwoven, and at the end of the Foundation books you kind of get a conclusion for the Robot sequence as well. That kind of blew my brain, and I'm like, "I need to do this."
So that's the origin, and that's kind of really the origin of Hoid. He's in the first book that I started writing, in very proto-form. He's kind of the same character who had been hanging out in Anne McCaffrey's books and other people's books as I'd read them. And that was it for a while, until I became a better writer, and then started actually building an epic. So, it's been around for a while. I would say the actual origin of the Cosmere was when I wrote Elantris, and then jumped back and wrote the book called Dragonsteel, which was this next book that I wrote after that, which was the origin of the Cosmere, kind of the prequel to all of it. And then I went and wrote White Sand. And those three together were my beginning. Only Elantris, of them, got published so far, although White Sand does have the graphic novel.
Do you plan on having any more mistborns in the Wax & Wayne series?
Read and Find Out.
So, you mentioned, at the beginning of Words of Radiance, that you were originally planning on making it shorter than The Way of Kings. How long is Oathbringer going to be?
Oathbringer is plotted at the same length as Words of Radiance. Isaac has seen my outline, and Peter has seen my outline, and they're like... *beat* "Okay. Um, all right." So, we'll see. Like the other ones, it can't really be cut. That's the big problem with these Stormlight books, because the way I plot them, the ending is so important to justifying the fact that you've spent a lot of this time building with some of these books. A lot of my books, they're zippy, but these, you invest a lot of time knowing there's gonna be payoff, and so, it's like, if I cut the last third and make it into a book, you've got a book with no payoff, and a book with only payoff, and that just doesn't work.
Are Shardblades Allomantically pushable?
By someone who has more power than anyone you've seen so far, yes.
Do you have a pronunciation guide anywhere?
So, we need to put one of these up. I put one up for Elantris. The trick with pronunciation guides is that, personally, I am kind of a believer in that I write a script where you are the director. You get the script I've provided, and then as you read the story, you are creating the actual final detail of how everything looks and osunds and stuff. And so, in your head, your version of the character names are canon to you, and there is no right pronunciation, really. I can give you the one that I thin is closest to how they would say it in-world, but I don't even always say them right. For instance, I just said Tashikk for the country in the Makabaki region when I was reading the Lift thing. But that's actually the Arab ق (IPA: /q/) sound, I can't even do it, it's the double-q. I can't say that. *Brandon tries to say taʃiq* Peter can do it, my editorial assistant, he's not here, but he can do it. I can't. I say them like an American. I say "KELsier" (ˈkɛlsiər). They say "kelsiEY" (ˈkɛlsiˌei). So, is my version right? My version is wrong, but it's right to me? So, yeah. But if there's a character name you want to know how I say it, I can tell you. Is there one specifically?
I say shuLAWN (ʃəˈlɔn). But, again, none of us are actually Veden like her, so who knows how they say it? They would have some accent that would be something that I can't even do.
What's Sazed? How do you say that?
Oh, Saze? So, I say say-zed (seizɜd). But I say that, and that's how Kelsier says it. Sazed himself is from the Terris region, he's gonna have a slightly different pronunciation. I would say that say-zed is not how he says it. It's gonna be either sawzd (sɔzd) or, it's gonna be something softer like that. I just say it like Kelsier does. But he says it wrong, depending on your definition of wrong.
What's the update on the next Rithmatist?
Next Rithmatist. So, there's no big update on that. If you didn't hear, when I wrote Alcatraz 5, the reason I wrote it was I wanted to do another teen book. I had planned Rithmatist 2, my outline was not good enough. I started writing it, and didn't feel confident in the book. I scrapped the outline, and I read five books on Aztec culture. And then, by the time I had done my research and rebuilt the outline, I did not have time to write the Rithmatist 2 before my other deadlines were due, so I wrote Alcatraz 5, 'cause it's shorter and faster and doesn't require five books worth of Aztec culture research. That's why Alcatraz 5 is coming out this year instead of Rithmatist. It would have been Rithmatist 2 if the outline had been better.
What that means now is my schedule is: Stormlight 3, Apocalypse Guard 1, Wax & Wayne final, Apocalypse Guard 2, Stormlight 4. If I'm ahead on any of those things at any point, I can slide in Rithmatist. But the reason it's so slow, by the way, what happened with Rithmatist, for those who don't know the story, I wrote Rithmatist in 2007. It was the last book I wrote before the Wheel of Time came along and just completely destroyed and changed my career, like, you know, a freight train. A freight train full of gold, so don't get me wrong; it was a very nice freight train. But it still slammed into me. And it upended everything. I had planned to do Rithmatist 1, 2, 3 as my next books. But then Wheel of Time came in, and Tor was like, "No, you need to work on this." I'm like, all right. We'll shelve Rithmatist," but that meant it got shelved for, like, four years, right?. And then when I came back to it, it was after the Wheel of Time, so it was the orphan child of the previous career path I was on. And my pet career path turned towards, "I need to do Way of Kings now," which I had been planning to wait to do after RIthmaist, because I wanted to have Way of Kings out for Wheel of Time fans, because I knew Wheel of Time fans would like Way of Kings a lot. So, that's why Rithmatist seems to be getting such little love. I do want to do it, but I was on a long career path, and then I got shifted quite dramatically. Alcatraz was a different thing, that was the publisher dropping the series, which was why it took so long to get 5 out.
So, I apologize for that. I will try to slip it in at some point,. but I can't promise when, because of... I can't delay Stormlight, and some of these other things.
On your website, you have a Movies & Games section? It just says "Coming Soon"?
Yes. Hey, Isaac! The Movies & Games section! The one in charge of that is Isaac, who also is the art director for our company, and he's a writer/illustrator in his own right, so Isaac's a little busy. There's, like, 50 billion things on that to-do list.
When you took over the whole Wheel of Time thing, that must have been-- there was so much going on there... they had their own characters and you had to immerse yourself in that role and to try to create-- writing in your own words. Do you think that helped you develop as a writer?
It totally did. The most I've grown as a writer was my first year writing, but after that, the number two time that changed me the most, was working on The Wheel of Time. It was incredible, and awesome, and terrifying, all at once. The hardest thing I've ever done professionally was write those books. For those who don't know, I didn't know Robert Jordan or his wife. I got a phone call one day, asking if I would finish his series. His wife, who was also his editor, she discovered him and then married him, which is a really good way to make sure your editorial advice is taken; *laughter* he asked her to find somebody-- before he passed away he said to her "If I don't make it, go find somebody". So she read Mistborn and she called me, and asked me "Would you be willing--" Now she knew I was a fan of the series, because I'd written a eulogy for Robert Jordan on my website, and that's how she found out about me. But then she just called and said 'here', and the things was, she then had to go grieve, right, she's like "Once you're done I can edit it, but I'm an editor, not a writer, I can't write this myself". So she gave me all the stuff, and then I basically did it all by myself for a year, and wrote that first one. I did send her some test chapters, is this right, is this wrong, but it was a very daunting task, he had not finished very much of the book. He had some notes, but he was a discovery writer so his notes were very vague. "I'm thinking about this happening", "oh, this character has a scene that's kind of like this", "I might do this, I might do this". A lot of stuff like that in the notes and so there was a lot of-- I describe it like someone takes a Ming vase and they smash it and they throw away half the pieces and they throw in pieces of another vase just to screw you up and they give it to you and they're like, "Alright, now make the vase, see if you can do that".
He did a lot of foreshadowing in his books...
There were certain things he did, to have out, and some of the most important ones he did have, other ones, I just had to catch the ball that he had thrown using my experience as a writer.
In terms of books that you wish you could have written yourself?
I read a lot of things for pleasure. I think I need to stay up on what everyone else is doing. As a teen, my favorite writers were Anne McCaffrey, Melanie Rawn, Barbara Hambly, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, it would probably be. David Eddings too. I grew out of David Eddings, happens when you get into your twenties, but during my teens he was the bomb. Do kids still say that, the bomb? I'll have to figure out what they're saying now. Nowadays I read Pat Rothfuss, I really like Pat, I really really like Naomi Novik's Uprooted, if you guys didn't read that this summer it's a fantastic novel. I like Brent Weeks' work a lot, Brian McClellan's, Nora Jemisin, you guys read NK Jemisin? She writes very literary fantasy; if you're an English major and you like that kind of stuff, which I do, it's amazing. Her most recent one has a character who writes in the second person, and it works. It's the first time I ever read a book where the second person, which is you do this, you do that, it actually works, it works really well. The second person past tense, so you did this, you did-- it's a person telling themselves a story so it actually, it really works. The Fifth Season. So, yeah, I read a lot of stuff.
I know that Mistborn, Stormlight Archive, Elantris are set in the same universe, and they've all kind of got certain Shards and I was reading that, like, you might do a book about that?
I will eventually, there's no 'might' about it, but I always try to talk somewhat timidly about it because I don't want the focus to be on that, I want the focus to be on each story that's happening. For instance, The Stormlight Archive will only be about The Stormlight Archive. I will be upfront when I do a crossover, but it is many years in the future. For now, I like it being a behind the scenes thing for fans who really want to get into it. I don't want to scare a reader who'll be like "I can't read Mistborn because I haven't finished all of these other books". You can read Mistborn on its own, and there will be cameos that you will notice as you do more, and the more I write, the more to the forefront some of these things will come, but I will lead you gently into it. But yeah, I will be doing crossovers eventually.
And when did you kind of-- was that something you wanted to do from the very beginning, or were you halfway through--
No, that was something I wanted to do from the beginning. I was inspired by Isaac Asimov combining his Robots books and his Foundation books, and he did it late in his career. It kind of felt a bit hacked together a bit, but it blew my mind when he did it and, as a writer, I always thought, what if somebody did this from the get-go.
The actual origins of the kind of worldhoppers for me was reading books as a teenager and inserting Hoid into them. I really did this.... Do you read books and you like change what is happening in the book, or maybe it's just a me thing? I would have my character interacting with the characters in the books, in my head, as I played the movie of that book in my head, while I was reading it, and there was this character hopping between worlds, with this knowing smirk on his face.
And so, when I was working on Elantris I said, "OK", I knew I had something in that book that was good, that was important, that was relevant, I was very confident in that book. It was my sixth novel, by the way, so I kind of had a handle on these things, and so that's when I decided I'm going to start doing some of this, I'm going to insert Hoid into this and I'm going to start planning this larger epic. It was particularly important to me because I knew I was not going to write a sequel to Elantris immediately, but I wanted to be writing epic stories, and the reason I didn't want to write a sequel to Elantris is because, if an editor rejected Elantris I wanted to be able to send them another book, because when you're getting close to publishing you'll start getting rejections that are like "This is actually a really good book, it doesn't fit our line, you just wrote a great mystical llama book but we just bought one of those, do you have anything else?". I wanted to be able to send them "here's my next thing" rather than "oh, I've got a sequel to the one you just rejected". And so I sat down and wrote the sequel, which was not a sequel, it was called Dragonsteel, which was Hoid's origin story. And then I jumped forward and I wrote White Sand which is another book connected to all these things and it went on, you know, it went crazy from there. And then when I actually sold Elantris it was already going and already in there, and I was able to sit down and write Mistborn, well in hand, knowing what was going to happen. That's why you find Hoid in Elantris and Mistborn and the sneaky, the scary-- well, it's not sneaky and it's not scary-- the moment in the third book when Vin gets creeped out by Hoid is a very important moment, Cosmerologically, but I'm not going to tell you why!
Did Wayne really steal a Returned horse?
*laughs* Did Wayne really steal a Returned horse is what you guys are asking? Aaaahhh I did not have Wayne stealing a Returned horse--
Or otherwise invested?
I'm not going to say whether or not-- there could have been things going on, but no, there is no stealing a Returned horse-- Is there a theory that the horse was Returned and that, from like, the prologue?
Oh no, that's just from me.
OK, OK, sometimes people ask these questions and there's like this huge forum thread where they think they've figured something out and I'm like "Returned horse?? What??"