Recent entries

    Manchester signing ()
    #8451 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This Jasnah sequence I might release in-between books as just a short little thing, like we did with Mitosis and Emperor's Soul, just to tide people over. It is something that I felt I needed to write so that I knew what Jasnah was doing, because these kinds of events are important to character development and things like this. It didn't belong in Book Two, for obvious reasons. There had to be that question. So I have this, and it's not 100% complete, in fact it's a pretty rough draft. But I feel I can't write Book Three until I know exactly what Jasnah went through.

    Manchester signing ()
    #8452 Copy

    Questioner

    With the Vorin religion split between men and women... do you tend to get women sneaking into the army-- *laughter*

    Brandon Sanderson

    This does not happen as much on Roshar as it apparently happens in Terry Pratchett novels. I'm sure that on Roshar they have their legends, 'cause basically every culture has their legends and one thing you have to remember is that whole thing is specifically Vorin. That's Alethkar, that's Jah Keved, that's Kharbranth, and Herdaz to a lesser extent and in there they probably have some of those myths and things like that but I don't think it actually happens that much in Roshar. That's my take on it, but I'm sure that they have their mythology.

    Questioner

    I was suspecting that the girl Kaladin mentions a few times may have snuck in.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh right, you've got some-- I've left her intentionally vague.

    Manchester signing ()
    #8453 Copy

    Questioner

    ..One of things I had difficulty with was coming up with names for the characters and seeing how your names are more than just random collections of letters, a lot of them actually have meanings behind them. I was wondering how you were able to do that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's actually a very good question and number one you should keep writing, even if you feel like what you are writing is a rip-off, it is better to finish that first book and be acknowledging your influences because you want to be practicing. And sometimes it is very useful to lean on something else while you do it. In fact this is how Great Masters did artwork, you can find-- I don't know if you guys know this-- various different versions of the Mona Lisa, we saw one in Spain, my wife and I, that was done by DaVinci's student while DaVinci was painting the Mona Lisa. "Here's what I painted now you do it too"  That was the means by which the Great Masters would train their students, so leaning on someone is just fine. You just can't publish it like that, but it can teach you a whole lot. Don't feel bad about that.

    Names, I use two general methods, and this is not going to give it the justice it deserves, I'm giving you the five minute version. One version is I look for the linguistic attribute that is interesting to me that will visually distinguish these people on the page. So when you are coming across them and you see that name, I want you to say "I bet that they're from this country". That is really tough because that means they all have to feel similar but you can't let everyone get confused over who's who and that's the real challenge, it's the getting confused. For instance in Warbreaker I tried using some different things like we don't in our world. In Warbreaker I used repeated consonant sounds, so you get someone like Vivenna, when you see that double v, you are like she must be-- Llarimar, there's a double L, you pronounce them both out. T'telir. And when you get double repeated consonants you are like "Oh they are from this region, that makes sense to me even though they start with different letter there is something to them" The same sort of thing is supposed to happen in The Way of Kings, you see names that are mostly symmetrical. When you see something like Shallan and her name is a derivation of Shalash, who was one of the Heralds and its a symmetrical name. When you see something that reads almost, or does read, forward and backward the same way you are like "They must be either Alethi or they must be-- They've got to be Vorin because that is the Vorin religion influencing this". And hopefully it will give you some subconscious cue when you run across those names and you'll get it.

    Now a way to do this that is easier is than doing all of that is going to take a lot of work linguistically is to go get yourself a nice atlas and say everyone from this country is going to have names that are analogous to this region in our world and I am then going to take this atlas and look for these names and use baby names from that culture... I did this in Emperor's Soul, I just picked ancient Persia, I picked people who lived there in this era and what they named their cities there and I'm going to take those words and I'm going to screw with them until it is not actually a word but it feels like it might be one. That way everyone from this region is going to feel like they've got a similar name. Or I can just-- For that book it was much easier because the linguistics were not as big a deal.  I could basically just crib off the bat. And that works very well also.

    Sometimes I do it intentionally, Mistborn was supposed to evoke a sense of 1820's Paris, or London, that was what I was shooting for with the grime and the dirt, the ash falling. So I used French names and Germanic names and Spanish names and things like this, so when you run into Vin, Vin is just wine in French and Kelsier [Kelsi-ay] is how they would say-- you can say Kelsier [Kelsi-er] if you want-- and they have Kelsier and Demoux so you can go "Oh this is a French sounding region" so when you get some like Elend and Straff you are like "They are from a different region. They sound like the eat meat and potatoes and they try to conquer Europe periodically, those guys" *laughter* That helps you distinguish the regions very easily.

    Manchester signing ()
    #8454 Copy

    ChocolateRob

    There’s a character again that you've talked about in other signings-- That character has more information than Hoid about the cosmere. How does she have more information than Hoid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, she is a very detail oriented person and takes the time to research very deeply into things. Where Hoid will often research enough as he needs to know to sound really smart and get what he wants. It is a matter of depth, if that makes sense.

    ChocolateRob

    Have we seen her?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uhh, I don't know if you've seen her or not. I'm sure I slipped her in somewhere but I'm not sure... I think I may have, but I can't guarantee it.

    Manchester signing ()
    #8455 Copy

    Questioner

    Again in Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, there are characters from different books. Some of these books have sequels, like the people from Elantris. So when are the sequels coming out? Are they going to come out before the big book? Or…

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's going to be a while before we do them. The sequels, I want to do them. Part of the thing that is holding me back with Elantris and Warbreaker is that I like having them as standalones right now, because so much of the rest of my work is so involved, I want to have these introductory books. Eventually I probably will do them, but it is going to take me a little while. I want to number one get further in The Stormlight Archive, I feel that we've had too much delay. Book One and Book Two there was a four year delay.  Which is-- That's like George R.R. Martin level delay, and granted I did two Wheel of Time books in-between. I should be cut some slack there but that's too long, I want to be consistently doing them every 18 months to two years. Then I can stop and say, "Okay do I have time to write an Elantris sequel or a Warbreaker sequel?"

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8456 Copy

    Cemci

    Have we-- I think you mentioned in a previous signing that we'd already met one member of every Order of the Knights Radiant.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I think you have.

    Cemci

    My question is, have we met two Edgedancers? And is one of the Dustbringers a viewpoint character?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the Dustbringers is eventually a point-of-view character.

    Cemci

    Haven't been yet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, not yet, I don't think. But it depends if you count the Heralds as members of their order.

    Cemci

    I don't.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, see I would, because they're kind of heads of their Order. If you don't count them you have not met some from every Order.

    Cemci

    Have we met someone from the Dustbringers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well-- Dustbringers are really complicated. Really complicated. So that's the weird one. Okay? So let's shelve that one. You'll see why it's really weird later on.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8457 Copy

    Questioner

    What's the most cosmere-icly-significant in Shadows of Self?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the latest book Shadows of Self? Shadows of Self is not terribly cosmere-significant, the next book has a lot more.  

    Questioner

    So the middle series?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, no, no, The Bands of Mourning, the actual next one has some relevant stuff. Oh, what's the most relevant in this? The fact that Hoid is eavesdropping--

    Questioner

    On the carriage?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In the carriage. That's pretty cosmere relevant, but there's not a ton in this one. I wanted this one to stay really focused on Wax. You'll see some more worldhoppers in the next one and stuff, so keep your eyes open. They're hard to miss, honestly, in the next one.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8458 Copy

    Questioner

    How come you don't have any gay, lesbian, or transgender characters in your books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do! This one [Shadows of Self] actually has one. Ranette is lesbian. Let's see, transgender is awkward because I have the kandra who are kind of no-gender and both, that doesn't really count, but it's kind of me testing the waters and seeing whether I can write someone who has fluid gender and not be offensive with it, does that make sense? So keep an eye on what I do with the kandra through the books. The other gay person is Drehy from Bridge 4, he's based on my good friend Ryan Dreher who is gay, and so you will see his husband appear in the series eventually as well, but we really haven't talked about that one yet, there really hasn't been an opportunity, but Ranette we've talked about and it becomes more and more obvious as we talk about it in the books.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8464 Copy

    Chaos

    When did Preservation decide to imprison Ruin in the Well? No need to be specific, I should think. A simple "Near Alendi's time" or "Way before Alendi's time" would suffice, or whichever time of reference you want to use.

    Also, this one is not a question, but nice Hoid reference in there. I especially like it how the Ars Arcanum refers to Slowswift as "bears a striking resemblance to a well-known storyteller." I'm on to you...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Way before Alendi's time. Hence the need for the prophecies. But Ruin managed to corrupt them.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8465 Copy

    Chaos

    How were the Terris Prophecies created in the first place? Every other magic related thing is quite logically explained in terms of Ruin and Preservation, except that one.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Terris prophecies were created by Preservation before he attempted his imprisonment. He knew that he wouldn't be able to do much for the world after he did what he did, and he foresaw a LOT of what was to come.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8466 Copy

    Chaos

    Do all three Metallic Arts still exist after the events of the book? Are Allomancy and Hemalurgy slightly degenerated now that Ruin and Preservation are dead, or does Allomancy still draw upon Preservation's power (just held with Sazed now)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy all work as they once did. However, now they are more directly affected by the presence or absence of the mists, which will slowly return to the world but not be of the extent they once were. (The mists are now an extent of Sazed's power, and where they roam, he is better able to influence things. There will also be two kinds of mists.) Note that in the future, Feruchemy powers will start to fracture and split, creating Feruchemical "Mistings."

    Yes, this means that in the future series, it will be possible for a person to have one Allomantic power and one Feruchemical power. It will create for some very interesting mixing of powers.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8467 Copy

    Questioner

    I read online that you stated that Instabam's power was over mashed potatoes. Is that actually true in your mind, and if it is would you ever consider writing that story in the same vein that J.K. Rowling did Fantastic Beasts? As a comic relief--

    Brandon Sanderson

    As a comic relief? I could totally see doing that. I just keep thinking that if people got to get superpowers, there have to be stupid ones, right?  People've got-- They can't all be “I can fly”, some of them are "I can control mashed potatoes" or something like that...

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8468 Copy

    Questioner

    Wayne's ability to heal himself, obviously doesn't mimic his natural ability because he can regrow fingers. So if he lost a limb, could he regrow the--just heal it roughly until he stored up enough Health and then regrow the limb at a later time? Does it have to be an instantaneous--

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, he could totally get that back.

    Questioner

    And if say somebody was born with an extra finger, could they cut that off, heal that up and have a whole fingers-worth of Health saved?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on how they view themselves. Healing in the cosmere is based on replacing-- returning you to the state you view as your natural state... Almost every cosmere magic is going to work that way, unless-- There’s certain ones that-- Yeah almost everyone is going to work that way.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8472 Copy

    ParadoxicalZen

    How exactly is the Moon Scepter linked to the Dor?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Moon Scepter is-- I suppose I can canonize this, now. Okay you're getting one out of me. So the big thing about the Moon Scepter that it was-- It is a Rosetta stone for the [Selish] magics. Meaning it translates them from one to another, and what the different symbols mean, does that make sense.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8479 Copy

    Neuxue

    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--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh Shai'tan! *laughs* I did not think of that, there you go Shai, that's where she came from.  

    Neuxue

    The most powerful character ever apparently.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's right. *laughs* Shai, the Dark One.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8480 Copy

    Neuxue

    Does Roshar have a magnetic field?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, Roshar, magnetic field, yes, it does. Yes. Yeah it does  

    Neuxue

    You said at one point that it is all one plate--  

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Neuxue

    --that there's no tectonic activity. What is the interior of the planet like?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    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

    Neuxue

    Are the diamonds naturally occurring?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Neuxue

    So, diamond mines are about tectonics--

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was a created planet, keep that in mind.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8481 Copy

    Questioner

    Can Odium or any other [Shards] edit text like Ruin could? ...Or is that a special Ruin thing.  

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.  

    Questioner

    Okay, what do you mean "saturate"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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].

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8483 Copy

    Questioner

    Are the Unmade seeking anything on Roshar?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Unmade, are they seeking anything? Technically yes.  

    Questioner

    And are they attracted to something on Roshar?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, yeees.  

    Questioner

    They are both of the above. And also you said--

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Unmade are not all necessarily sapient. Keep that in mind. Not sapient always in the way that we think of sapience.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8485 Copy

    Questioner

    Could you have a good conversation with Adonalsium, back in the day?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.  

    Questioner

    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  

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8486 Copy

    Questioner

    Why are there so many Kholins that are Radiants? Is there a story reason or...

    Brandon Sanderson

    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--

    Questioner

    And then they are on the forefront of that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    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?

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8487 Copy

    Questioner

    I finished Shadows of Self and TenSoon is still wearing the dog body, why is that?  

    Questioner

    Because he found he liked it.

    Questioner

    Really? Because he hated it so much.

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8489 Copy

    Questioner

    So I take it that a spren exists simultaneously in both the Physical and Cognitive Realms...

    Brandon Sanderson

    They do.

    Questioner

    But are they conscious simultaneously of what's happening in both.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, they do have to transition.  

    Questioner

    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-- 

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Questioner

    Ok so they could be pretty damn clever but there's no one to talk to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8490 Copy

    Questioner

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...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.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8491 Copy

    Questioner

    With spikes, would you be able to actually transfer Breaths, when they get to the other planets?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Bystander

    There's still things to decide upon.

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8493 Copy

    Questioner

    It must be very difficult to write Dalinar, since it's--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah he's a very different person, it's kind of brutal to write him now. But it works, it's a good counterpoint.

    Questioner

    *inaudible* Shallan and Kal are both younger, so you have less to write about than Dalinar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Manchester signing ()
    #8497 Copy

    Questioner

    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.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are those who believe you could put the pieces back together and their are those who believe you can't, and shouldn't.

    Questioner

    You shouldn't put them back--

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are some who believe that.

    Questioner

    So will they be able to put it back together?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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"

    Manchester signing ()
    #8498 Copy

    Questioner

    Where do you get your people from? Do you take inspiration from people you know in real life?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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

    Manchester signing ()
    #8499 Copy

    Questioner

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Manchester signing ()
    #8500 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.