Recent entries

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #8401 Copy

    Questioner

    Was Sadeas involved with Gavilar's death?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, good question. He legitimately thought that Gavilar was a good king and so he legitimately wanted him to live. Sadeas had...his disagreements with Dalinar, he was way more ruthless, and things like this. But at the end of the day he really did want the kingdom to succeed and he did not want to be king.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8408 Copy

    leinton (paraphrased)

    Is crem made out of calcium carbonate?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No, that it was a darker material, and wouldn’t directly correlate to any rocks on Earth

    leinton (paraphrased)

    Where does it come from?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    That’s one of the greater mysteries. Far in the future, scientists on Roshar will start asking that same question.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8409 Copy

    Questioner

    Any advice for finding a good, constructive writing group?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Writing groups, your best bet is to find somewhere, like, at a convention, that's doing writing critiques, and get in on one of the group critiques that happen there, usually led by, like, an author or somebody, and see who's giving good critiques. And then approach them and see if you can start something up. I would say that's the best. University classes, you can get into one of those, some sort of writing class where you can kind of get a preview for how people critique and things like that. That's your best bet, conventions, or writing classes.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8410 Copy

    Questioner

    With regards to Legion, are you planning on writing another short story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am planning a third Legion short story, and then I will probably let that one lay fallow for a while. I don't know when I'll do that, it might be next year. I usually do a novella every year. And so, we'll see, it might be Legion next year to kind of wrap that up, not that it's really gonna be an ending because those are kind of episodic, but it will be the end of writing those for a while.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8411 Copy

    Questioner

    So, the game Mistborn: Birthright, it's been two years now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...I love the guys who were working on it, but I, if I were you, would consider it vaporware until you hear more. They've had some real troubles with their funding. They're great people who have just not been able to get the game going. They make a lot of easy, quick games for movie tie-ins, this one is *inaudible*, so it's just been a lot harder for them to get going. Again, they're fantastic people, and I hope that they'll get something going about it eventually, but I'm not gonna talk much about it until they do.

    So, someone's gonna ask, the movie thing. So, Shawn Levy, owns The Reckoners, optioned that in June. He did Real Steel, the Richard Matheson story. If you haven't seen that movie, it turned out really well, with Wolverine in it. He also did the Night at the Museum films. And they're working on a screenplay. DMG owns The Emperor's Soul. They were producers on the latest two Iron Man films. They're a Chinese company, they really liked Emperor's Soul, so they came and optioned that from me. The Mistborn books are with the people who have the video game rights. We've combined those together into one right, I gave them a year to work on that. They've been very encouraging on how they're working on that, but it's Hollywood, so who knows what will happen. Legion just lapsed, so if you're uncle makes movies, tell him to make Legion, from Brandon. Stormlight is under contract, but I can't say with who yet. So, I think everything novel-wise except for Rithmatist, probably-- Yeah, 'cause somebody optioned the Cosmere. Minus Mistborn. They got really excited by this whole, "Wow, it's a shard universe" thing, which is really hot in Hollywood right now. They're a really good company, but they came to me like, "We can do Marvel with Fantasy," and I'm like, "I'm not gonna say no!" We'll see how it turns out, but that's where we are.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8412 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Will there be a follow-up to The Rithmatist? Let's go down the list.

    So, I am writing Stormlight 3 right now. So, Stormlight 3, our goal is for next fall. You can follow along on my website, the projection right now is for, like, April, which is gonna be really tight for next fall. If I can get it done before April, then we can get it out in November. Otherwise, they would probably wait until January. Usually they skip December, 'cause it's just so crazy for bookstores, you don't want to be sending new books to them in December. So, if that happens, then it will be another January release, or something like that.

    I have Bands of Mourning, the next Mistborn book, in the queue.

    I have Calamity, the next Reckoners book, in the queue.

    And I have the fifth book of the Alcatraz series in the queue. We got the rights back, and we can start publishing the Alcatraz books again in January, so we will be rereleasing the first four with new cover art. It's really cool, we're trying something out with these books, as an aside. We did this really cool full-color map, and we're putting it on the inside of the jacket flap thing. So you can take off the jacket while you're reading the book and see the map, and if this works, we're gonna try it with Stormlight, where you can take off the jacket and see the map, it's just printed in full color on the back, but we wanna make sure it looks nice, that everything's gonna work with it... And then the fifth book will be in June.

    By the way, as an aside, those books I just listed, are all collectively shorter than a Stormlight book. You can add the word counts, two Mistborn books, one Reckoners book, and Alcatraz, plus a novella, all were written last year. And this year I've only been writing Stormlight, and I'm still-- yeah, anyway.

    Once I finish Stormlight, the next project will be the new new YA series from Random House, following Reckoners. It will be a new thing. I will write one of those, I will probably write Rithmatist 2, I will probably write the last Wax & Wayne book, and then I will go to Stormlight 4. Those will be the three projects I do in between.

    So, if the book you're waiting on a sequel to wasn't on that list, I will get to it eventually, but that's, like, the list for the next couple of years.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8413 Copy

    Questioner

    Of all the characters that you've written, which one do you think is the most like you, and is there one you want to be like?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Understand that there are none that are specifically "most like me." There's a piece of me in every one of them, it's been very hard for me to determine. If I had one that I think the best of is probably Sazed, maybe Dalinar. But I sure wouldn't mind being as clever as some of them are. You laugh, because, like, "You wrote them, Brandon." *laughter* The thing about being clever-- and I have some clever friends, I lived with a a guy named Ken Jennings for many years in college, and his brother's just as smart as him, and our mutual friend Earl, they were all on Quiz Bowl in college together, and he [Ken] won the Jeopardy thing, like 80 in a row. And Ken, and people like this, what really makes them smart is the speed of thought. They just snap off a retort, just like that, and you get them together, it's this weird thing, where, like, spacetime seems to warp around them and they start one-upping each other with references and cultural jokes and things like that, and you just step back, and, like, they're their own power source. Of random 80's inside jokes just going at each other. And that's what really makes someone witty, is the ability to pop it off. That's not smart, that's witty, in a book. Now they're also very smart. But in a book, you can emulate that, by giving yourself three hours to think of what the perfect comeback, and then writing it in the book. And they just came up with it, and everyone thinks you're brilliant, when you're just habitually that person who's like, "That would have been smart! That's what I should have said!"

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8414 Copy

    Questioner

    So, there's not a lot a lot of Western books coming out these days. Is there anything in particular that made you decide to set Alloy of Law and the other books in that time period; and any challenges moving into that time period?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...It's hard to say, you know, to reach back into my "cultural archive," so to speak, in my head. I did watch a lot of spaghetti westerns during that era. I think they're cool. But I really think it was more wanting to deal with something in the early 1900s. Because, I love that era. That era, in our world, was, like, this era of scientific discoveries-- there was this revolution that happened, right around that time, with the coming of electric lights and the coming of motorcars where, for the first time, science is a thing for everybody. Like, before, science was a thing that somebody rich got to do, and then it became something-- like, I remember reading an essay that was written in, like, 1910, about a scientist who had gone and studied ditch-digging, and gone in there with the ditch-diggers. And he taught them, he figured out the science of what makes ditch-digging easier on their bodies and on their health and faster, and basically he 'scienced' ditch-digging for the ditch-diggers. And they loved that. It made their jobs much easier. It was a time where science was like that, it was the first time that science was like that... That time period really fascinates me, because you've got this whole-- my career is based around taking cool things and superstition, and to have, like, one foot over there and one foot in science, and kind of bringing those two things together. And that fascinates me, and that was a time period where we were transitioning from superstition toward science. That's really cool to me. So, I wanted to do something in that time period, and the Western aspect was just a fun part of it. The whole pitch of "Clint Eastwood has to move to big-city New York and take over his house politics" was really interesting to me.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8415 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you write non-fiction books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...I have not written any full non-fiction books yet. My nonfiction is my class and my podcast. Maybe someday I'll do a writing book. We did do one called Shadows Beneath... my friends and I each wrote a story, and then we wrote about why we did that story the way we did. So all of my nonfiction is, like, articles about writing. So, maybe someday, we'll do something else, but that's kinda where I am right now.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8416 Copy

    halo6819

    What planet did humans originate on? Or did they originate on Scadrial when Preservation and Ruin got together?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Humans did not originate on Scadrial, because they were on Yolen, which is a planet before Adonalsium-- the story that takes place before Adonalsium was Shattered. They may have been on other planets, but they-- the very first ones you would care about are probably on Yolen.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8417 Copy

    leinton

    Does Roshar experience storms outside of the highstorms and the Weepings? And if so, how often would Shinovar get them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, the weather patterns are dominated by the highstorms. Non-highstorm storms are rare but do occur. The further to the west you get, the harder it is to tell the difference between a highstorm and a regular storm. Like, in Shinovar, a highstorm is just kind of like-- it feels like what a storm you might get here, or even weaker. But they do happen. They're gonna happen, most often you're going to notice them in the quote-unquote "summers," when the highstorms are further apart.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8418 Copy

    Questioner

    ...How and when do you manage to sleep? *laughter* You read and write and have a family.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I'm not allowed to talk about the clones *laughter* writing my books.

    I set a strict schedule, and what I do is, I get up at noon, because I'm a writer! And I'll write from noon until 5:00. 5:00 until 8:30 or 9:00 is family time, and that's just-- that's sacrosanct. I don't do anything else during that time except hang out with family, I play video games with the kids, if you've got a seven or eight year old, Terraria, great for kids, you can get it on tablets and sit next to them. It's like an easier Minecraft. We play games, I go out with my wife, we do stuff like that. And then, at about 9:00, the kids are in bed, we're usually back, and then I go back to work. And I work from about 9:00 until as long as I need to work to get my work done that night. And when I'm home, that schedule works very well. It can get me up to twelve hours of writing time in a day if I'm really crunching on something. Since I don't have a commute, it actually-- I get that extra time in my day. And when I don't have a time crunch, then I can be done by, like, 2:00 AM and play some video games or something. I have a very-- My mental health is good. You don't have to worry about me not sleeping, and things like that. On tour? All bets are off. These things usually get done about midnight or 1:00 AM, and I often have a flight the next morning at 8:00. So, on tours, I just don't sleep. And I usually don't eat, either...

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8419 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there anything you've read recently that you are championing, like--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah, some stuff that I really like recently. If you haven't read Naomi Novik's book Uprooted, it's delightful. Like a dark fairy tale written for an adult audience. We get a lot of fairy tale retellings that are kinda YA or middle grade targeted. This one's-- she's got Polish descent, she kinda picks-- there's no specific fairy tales, she just kinda came up with her own. And it's wonderful. It's a little romance-y, but some fun magic and it's kinda dark, but highly recommended.

    Brian McClellan, my old student, Promise of Blood, he writes fantastic stuff, and I'm jealous of his magic system, it's really good.

    Nora [N.K.] Jemison's new book, I mentioned that, if you like literary style stuff... The Fifth Season. And, it's got a character whose viewpoint in the second person, and it works. So, it's the only thing I've ever read in second person that works. It is so good. There's a few for you.

    Some of my classic favorites, if you haven't read them, are Fire Upon the Deep by Vernon Vinge. It's the closest thing to reading Dune again that you will ever have. It's got that same epic worldbuilding, really cool epic scope in a science fiction novel, and I love that book.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8420 Copy

    Questioner

    What was your favorite character to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My favorite character to write is whoever I'm writing at the moment. I don't usually pick a favorite... I don't have a favorite character... and I don't usually have a favorite book. People ask that a lot. It's like choosing your favorite child.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8421 Copy

    Questioner

    When building out your magic in your books, what process do you go through, they're certainly intricate compared to a lot of others.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question! ...I could give you three lectures on this, and I have done it before. Fortunately, I wrote it all down. So, I've got a couple resources for you, this goes for anyone who's interested in writing. My website... there are three resources on there. The first are my essays on magic systems. I've done three essays so far, my speech last years was my fourth, you'll have to find that online somewhere. Sanderson's Zeroth Law. I named them after myself, because, I mean, Asimov did it. *laughter* I don't think he actually named them after himself, but-- So, those are gonna talk about magic systems, how I develop them in-depth.

    The other resource I have for you is Writing Excuses, my podcast. Fifteen minutes of writing advice every week. Start with January of this year. I think they get better and better as we've gone along, so this year's are better, and we started kind of a new thing.

    And the last thing is, if you're hardcore, and you're kind of masochistic, you can watch my university lectures, which are a little more boring and dry, they're an hour and a half long, there's thirteen of them, they're linked on my website. And I made the university let me record them and post them online as part of having me in there to teach...

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8422 Copy

    Questioner

    Of all your books... who is your favorite audiobook narrator who has narrated your novels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is Michael Kramer. And that's a bias of mine because, having listened to a lot of the Wheel of Time books in the early years, I fell in love with Michael and Kate's reading styles, so I've asked for them specifically on several of my projects. I sometimes like to have somebody different for different books just to have some variety in case there are people who don't like that, but they will continue probably to do Mistborn and Stormlight because they're my favorite readers.

    A Memory of Light Chicago signing ()
    #8423 Copy

    Questioner

    How did this [Wheel of Time] help prepare you to write Stormlight Archive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's actually a good story there because Way of Kings, the first Stormlight Archive, is the book I was writing when I first sold Elantris. Elantris was my first published but it wasn't my first written, it was my sixth novel. It was the first one that was actually somewhat decent, but I was writing number thirteen when I got the offer on it. You'll find that's very common among authors. It doesn't happen to all of us, but a lot of us, we write for a long time before we get it done. And I just finished Way of Kings and it was not right yet. In fact when I sold Elantris, Tor wanted to buy two books from me, and my editor asked, "send me what I was working on right now". And I sent him Way of Kings and he said, "wow this is awesome, but number one, it's enormous. I'm not sure if we can publish this, at least in one volume, from a new author." Later on I was able to convince them it should be one volume, but that's when I had a little more clout and they could print more copies, which drives prices down for printing them. But also it just wasn't right yet. The book was not right. And I said to my editor, "I'm okay not publishing it now, because I don't know what's wrong with it. As a writer, I think it was just too ambitious for me at the time. I just couldn't do it yet."

    It wasn't until I had written Gathering Storm in its entirety that I started to figure out what I'd been doing wrong. It was actually managing viewpoints was one of the things. During the reread of Robert Jordan's entire series, I noticed how he gathered the viewpoints together. You start writing a big epic fantasy series, and you feel like, they have so many characters and I want to start with that. In the original draft of Way of Kings I started them all over the world. I had all these viewpoints and things like this and the book was kind of a trainwreck because of it. Where if you read Eye of the World, Robert Jordan starts with them all together and then slowly builds complexity. Even in the later books, he's grouping the characters together. Even though they have individual storylines going on, they are in the same place and they can interact with each other, and there's clusters of them in different places. That was one thing. Working on Gathering Storm, I've learnt how to make my characters, also how to use viewpoints the way he did, how to manage subtlety--he was so subtle with a lot of his writing. Just some of these things, it all started to click in my head.

    And I actually called my agent and said, "I need to do Way of Kings right now." And he's like, "Are you sure? Because you kind of have a lot on your plate." "I need to do it, it's going be fast, because I know how to do it now." So I actually took time off between Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight and rewrote Way of Kings from scratch. It took me about six months, which is amazingly fast for a book that length. And then showed it to my editor and it was right this time. It's hard to explain many of the specifics. It's like, how do you know you can lift this weight after you've been lifting these other weights? It's when you've worked hard enough that you've gained the muscle mass to do it. And writing The Wheel of Time was heavy lifting. That's how it happened. I do apologize the sequel is taking so long. But after that deviation to do the first one which I could do very quickly, I couldn't stop to write the second one after Towers of Midnight because the second one would take too long and delay the last book too long. I am getting back to Stormlight now, and I am working on the second book, but I had other obligations first that were very important.

    A Memory of Light Chicago signing ()
    #8425 Copy

    Ted Pick (paraphrased)

    In Mistborn, why is it that an Allomancer either has just one metal, or is Mistborn and has all? Why aren't there any that have just two, or three?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Originally he had planned so that people would only have one metal, period. No Mistborns. And then as he went along with the writing he liked this idea, but he really wanted to make some more powerful Allomancers, which is why he created the Mistborn. He did say though that if you are playing the RPG, you are more than welcome to have an Allomancer that can burn two metals without Hemalurgy.

    A Memory of Light Portland signing ()
    #8427 Copy

    Brent Weeks

    So I hear the Stormlight Archive is supposed to be ten books. So does that mean 15 or 20? *audience laughs*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Stormlight Archive is supposed to be ten books. I'm hoping it will be ten books. It is two sequences of five, so you can ask me after the first five-book sequence where I am in my original outline. It should stay pretty close to that, I hope. I don't know. I used to be able to say everything stayed the same length I wanted it to be, but then my Wheel of Time book got split into three, so I can't say that any more.

    Brent Weeks

    Two years between books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, two years between books. They're very thick and involved, and I want to be doing other things as well. I like to jump projects--it's what keeps me fresh. It's what allows me to keep on doing this productively, and if I get stuck in one thing, no matter how much I love it, I find that I get less and less excited about it as time passes. But if I finish one book and skip to something else--like an Alcatraz book--for a little while and then jump back, I find my enthusiasm has come back to the beginning, where it was. And so I do a lot of jumping between projects.

    A Memory of Light Portland signing ()
    #8428 Copy

    Questioner

    How much of your own books were you consciously looking at books like Jordan and saying, "I like that kind of world," and trying to create that kind of world in your own stuff?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I spent most of my early career, as I kind of implied earlier, reacting against books that I had really liked. The main purpose for this being that I felt that Robert Jordan and various other authors really covered that type of story and that type of world really well. And so I said, "Well, what other room is there to explore?" And so you see me reacting against.

    For instance, Mistborn is a direct reaction to the Wheel of Time. Mistborn began as the question, "What if Rand were to fail?" That's what spun me into creating that entire book series: what if the prophesied hero were not able to accomplish what they were supposed to accomplish? And that became the foundation of that book series. So you can see where I was going and things like that. A lot of times I will read something, and if it's done very well I'll react against it, and if it’s done very poorly then I’ll say, "Oh, I want to try and do this the right way". And both of those are kind of an interesting style of reaction to storytelling. So I would say I was deeply influenced, but it's more in the realm of, "Hey what have they done? What have they covered really well, and where can I go to explore new ground?"

    A Memory of Light Portland signing ()
    #8429 Copy

    Questioner

    Are you planning on continuing to the fifth book of the Alcatraz series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Am I planning to continue to the fifth book of the Alcatraz series, which are my middle grade and young adult wacky fantasy books? The answer is yes. I did not like what the publisher [Scholastic] was doing with the Alcatraz series, so I actually bought the rights back as part of agreement last year, which gave them until January to continue selling the books, and then I got the rights back in January. But they didn't want to do the fifth book for various reasons, and so I bought them all back and am now planning on how to get them back out there. I've given my UK publisher the right to distribute in the US, so they should have distribution again. And so I'll do the fifth book sometime this year. I will initially probably just put it on my website to read because you've been waiting for so long, and then we'll worry about getting it printed somehow. 

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8430 Copy

    Questioner

    Did you speak in English, and was it translated when you did that overseas trip [to Dubai]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, good question... Yes, they actually had headphones for everybody. And I spoke in English, and they had an interpreter. I got to do a speech, kinda like this. And there was a guy there who's like, "Fantasy's not real." He actually said that, and the people in charge were like, "Oh, it's okay, we're sorry, we didn't mean to offend you," and I was like, "Oh, no! I'm ready!" Which is why I gave my little speech on why fantasy is awesome. And it was super cool. They did interpret it, yep.

    GollanczFest London ()
    #8432 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    [Something about whether Elantrians are immortal or long-lived] 

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Elantrians have no physical limitations on their lifespan. The power will sustain them, but it's emotionally and mentally exhausting to be an Elantrian, so as far as immortality goes it's actually harder to be an Elantrian than other forms of immortality that exist in the cosmere.

    Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
    #8436 Copy

    Questioner

    What is the worst writing advice you've ever gotten?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...The thing about writing advice is, most people are giving writing advice that works for them which means it's actually good advice to try out. The only really bad advice is, "This is the way it must be done." Because different writers have very different approaches. Can you imagine Stephen King. Stephen King can't write with an outline. So he says "Don't outline." Orson Scott Card says, "I've gotta have an outline or my book stinks." Both of those can't be right. But one of them might be right for you. The truth is, most writers I know don't outline some things, do outline other things, and come up with this, like, Frankenstein of different pieces of advice that work for them.

    The absolute worst thing I that ever heard, and I'm not gonna say who said this, was they were telling my students, while I was teaching them, my students came in and said "What do you think of this," to include a glossy headshot with every submission. To get the attention of editors. And not include a SASE, a self addressed stamped envelope (back in the days, you know, where we did this all in print). If they liked it enough, they'd track you down.

    GollanczFest London ()
    #8438 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    *inaudible* [Presumably about the interval between Stormlight 5 and 6]

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I can't tell you too much without giving you spoilers. It's not a jump like Mistborn. It's more like ten or fifteen years. It will be the same characters, but some of the main characters will fade to be more minor characters, and some of the minor characters will fade to be more major characters. For example, Lift is one of the main characters for the second part, and Jasnah, and Renarin, and such.

    GollanczFest London ()
    #8439 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I can't answer that yet, because I'm going to be talking a lot about how the worlds blend in later books, so I don't want to talk too much about how the magics blend now.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Is that something we'll be seeing in Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    In Hoid's trilogy?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yep. Post-Stormlight. That's part of why I need to RAFO those questions, because they're so far off right now.

    GollanczFest London ()
    #8441 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 ()
    #8442 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 ()
    #8445 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.