Nightblood, is that going to be using Stormlight?
Yes, Nightblood can feed off of any Investiture, including the one inside of people's souls. Which is what kills them.
Nightblood, is that going to be using Stormlight?
Yes, Nightblood can feed off of any Investiture, including the one inside of people's souls. Which is what kills them.
So that scene in Warbreaker when Hoid is doing the storytelling with sand, was he doing--
There is indeed some sand in there.
Is it sand mastery though?
There may indeed be, not everything he's doing is sand mastery, but there may indeed be some things involved in that.
And we changed Hoid's appearance, in the White Sand.
I couldn't even find him.
He's just, as I remember it--it's been a long time--I think he's just one of the cases Ais mentions talking about.
Oh yeah, he's in the letter, no that’s someone else.
No he's just one of the people Ais' been chasing. There's just this one case that is mysterious to him. Like remember a lot of the early Hoid things were really obscure mentions.
What is the Shard on White Sand? Because we've both read White Sand.
The Shard-- So what the Shard is doing is, the Shard is the Sand God. But I didn't bring it out much, there's only one Shard on the planet. And the Shard actually kind of resides in the atmosphere and stuff like that but we decided to bring the Shard out a little bit more in the comic book so when you read that you'll be able to find a little more.
Does it take effect in the Darkside?
Yes, it does.
When will we find out about the other effect of burning lerasium?
Ummm, you-- I think it-- Ehhh, maybe eventually. I don't know. Not as relevant as it once was.
I am also wondering, does atium actually still regenerate?
Atium does not regenerate.
It stopped when--
It stopped when Ati stopped existing. Yep.
Will we ever see more beads of lerasium?
That's a RAFO. Definitely a RAFO. It's-- It would require some... *sighs*
So as I was researching all the stuff for trivia, I must say I was-- I became intrigued with the idea of duralumin and bendalloy or cadmium and whether or not it might have something to do with your FTL?
It's a good theory. That's a really good theory.
Would you like to expand on that?
No, that's it. That's a good theory.
How... Where would be the... How are you expecting to sell "Screenshot"?
Yes, Snapshot. That one.
I am expecting to do a limited edition and ebook simultaneous. Steve Diamond, who does... *unintelligible* bookstore guy. He's local, you guys know Steve Diamond. He wants to start up a company doing that, and I told him he could have Snapshot if he did. And so it will probably be like that. He'll do it-- a nice little really-- I just don't expect that our company is ever going to do leatherbounds of any of the short fiction with-- except the possibility for Emperor's Soul. So yeah, that's the plan right then. If that happens it's next Spring's novella release.
Okay. Just can't go six months without publishing a new book.
Eh. Next year's gonna be something, because right now it's only Snapshot and Stormlight 3. I haven't--
"Only." *group laughs*
So I've got a question about the Selians in Secret History.
It seems... It seems pretty clear that they're Selians. Or people from...
...the planet Sel. Is that the right term? Selian? I don't know...
Um... *sigh* I get this one mixed up. Peter knows. I know I've called them Selish before, but I think we went with Selian because it sounded too much like "selfish". But we did canonize it, and it probably is in the essays, I think. But Peter knows the canon term.
Okay. What era are they from? Are they from like the... are they from the... the original...
They are old! [very drawn out "old"]
Were they part of the society that built Elantris?
So, someone asked me this coming through the line, and I RAFO'd them. But they are old.
They are old.
They are old, old people. Here's the thing. You give me the opportunity to wiggle around, because I could say, "No," if anyone has joined them since then.
Does that make sense?
Not canonizing anything right now, but that question is so wiggle-aroundable. And I took the opportunity not to wiggle around it and just tell you they are old.
They are old. Got it.
The organization is old. And some of the people that you meet there are very old.
Were the epigraphs meant to be in order? If so, reading them all straight through it seems Sazed keeps going off on tangents, seems more stream of consciousness than we're used to seeing from Sazed...
They are in order, but there are large gaps of text left out. So you're not getting the whole thing, just the 'good parts' versions. That's why it feels jumpy.
In one of the bumps, Sazed mentions a discussion between Vin and Ruin in which Vin asks Ruin why she was chosen to release him from the Well. Did this discussion occur in the in-between afterlife where Vin, Elend, Kelsier, etc., were, or did it occur off-screen while Vin and Ruin were busy stopping each other from affecting the world?
I was fairly sure she asked it while she was a prisoner of Yomen, but I could be wrong.
Yes, as has been pointed out, that's in the text—unless I cut it during editing for pacing issues. If I did, the conversation still happened, but it just didn't get shown on
When the Kandra get their spikes back, do they remember who they were, or have they been "rebooted"?
They remember, though some things are vague or foggy in their minds. Depends on the individual.
Did Vin's mother actually have a spike, or was she so crazy that one wasn't necessary for Ruin to influence her?
She was crazy enough on her own.
In an annotation from book one, it is mentioned that The Lord Ruler needed all three magic systems in order to do what he did. I always assumed that it meant his Hemalurgy enhanced his Allomancy. Did Marsh get a double power, or is the Feruchemy-Allomancy combo enough? (a sidebar to this question is whether or not stacking abilities is possible through Hemalurgy)
He used Hemalurgy to pull off his most dramatic effects. Marsh didn't need them, but it makes things much easier.
A modern world update for a future Mistborn trilogy probably wouldn't involve as much metal, unless Mistings were rare, which apparently will not be the case. I'm thinking more like plastics, ceramics, fiberglass, and silicon. I mean for cars and guns and all that.
Yes and no. For the rich, this would be an option. But much like using metal weapons in the Mistborn world, it isn't always an option for everyone. You will see both.
Lemme guess, the "Mistborn" following Vin was actually Ruin, since Elend never actually saw him, and he disappeared every time Vin got close?
Why did Ruin give off Allomantic Pulses? Because Preservation did and they're two sides of the same coin? Allomancy is of Preservation, so I figured that's why he did...
Manifestation of the awesome power he held, mixed with Vin's increased ability to sense these things. Allomantic pulses are like a ripple of sound in the fabric of creation itself—the power of creation being used, creating a drum beat to those attuned to it. Ruin created a similar beat when his consciousness was near.
I'm sad Ten Soon never got to talk to Vin again, since it was apparent they both missed each other.
Remember that TenSoon, with spikes, can communicate more easily with those on the other side....
Who were Ruin and Preservation? I mean, when they died, they had bodies, like Vin. And you went as far as to describe their hair color (Red and Black, respectively). Preservation even had a prominent nose. Why describe their dead bodies, if they weren't at one time mortals themselves? They created humans, but were at one time human themselves?
Was there ever anything to Reen's obsidian?
Reen's obsidian was a memento from his father, the parent he didn't share with Vin. I carried a small piece of obsidian like this for many years. It has no story function other than being important to Vin as a keepsake.
Spook gets repaired, does Cett get his legs?
To give humankind the best shot at survival, Sazed repaired all genetic defects and physical ailments in the people who were in the storage caches. So yes, Cett can walk. He was so shocked by this that he spent the entire epilogue walking around in the cavern, marveling.
Does Wit go to-- uh... what's that one place in The Way of Kings... The one place they go to, aft... The end of the book. Uh, I can't remember it now. *someone suggests something* The city they go to at the very end.
Of Way of Kings?
Not Way of Kings, uh...
Words of Radiance.
Words of Radiance, yes. Does Wit go there?
Urithiru! Does Wit go to Urithiru?
By the time that a certain somebody at the end shows up there. Wit is no longer with her, and nobody knows where he went.
Oh, he disappeared again! *others comment*
He tends to do that. What's that? So Wit has been lost. He will show up at some point in the book... But yes, he will at least have the Epilogue.
What's your stance on fanfiction?
I approve of fanfiction. *brief interruption* I think that there are many pros in the field who started in fanfiction, so it can be a springboard to professional writing. Most painters don't start by-- with their own style. They start by imitating a style. I also take the oppos-- the other stance of, if you just do it because it's fun, there's nothing wrong with that either. I'm unlikely to read the fanfiction set in my worlds, but it is also perfectly okay to do.
Couldn't think of any [questions], but I would just like to say that I would like to punch Kelsier in the face now, so... *group laughs*
He usually deserves getting punched in the face. *group laughs* If you were to meet Kelsier on the street, you can guess he has something that he's done that makes him deserve to be punched that day. *group laughs*
*reading a question from a friend* He asks you, "How a dead Splinter [Sliver] can interact with the physical world," and the follow up, "What could they do?"
A dead Splinter... So something like a dead...
Someone who's held the power and let go of it, so someone like... someone like...
Someone like the Lord Ruler.
Yeah, Lord Ruler or Vin or <someone like that>.
Okay, so... How could they interact with the world?
Yeah, the physical world.
So they would have some of the same problems that Kelsier had. But would have slightly more advantages than him. So for instance, speaking to the mad is something they could probably do.
Because Kelsier can't do that.
Because Kelsier can't?
Yeah, in Secret History he's able to speak to them. He has a lot of trouble getting through, but he can. So yeah. So I-- read Secret History and... *stutters* <a bunch> of the same answers. But they would be slightly more Invested than Kelsier was... No, but then he... yeah... They'd be about roughly the same.
Does Odium actually present a real threat to Harmony, because he-- *interrupted*
So Harmony is vastly more powerful than Odium.
Elend was vastly more powerful than Vin. Who would win in a fight?
Okay, there's your answer.
You know how in, uh... the God King was engaged to Siri?
And she went to his room few times?
Will there be something like that in the second book? Or will you be avoiding that?
There will be a romance in the next book between different characters. Slightly different. The outline right now it's-- the romance is a married couple who, for political purposes act like they hate each other.
*laughs* That's awesome.
But what I mean is there will be any-- like-- there won't be anything, like, prostrating or whatever...
Probably not... Um, I mean...
Because if you avoid it I'll love to read the book. *laughs* I had a hard time recommending Warbreaker to others because of that. I mean, it's not a big criticism or anything, it's just more uncomfortable.
I understand that completely. It was a book about a wedding night. And I felt there were certain things that were appropriate for that book that may not have been appropriate for others.
So the orb thing in a Secret History, that he breaks?
How does that work? Like is it-- is Connection a Shard and it has the essence of Connection in it? Or...?
*sighs* It is more complicated than that.
<In> email then. *questioners laugh*
That's a RAFO, without being a RAFO.
In Memory of Light, how Lan didn't die.
And you were surprised that fewer people were discussing how you could interpret Rand's actions as bending the Pattern to make it that he did not die.
And I'm trying to-- You mentioned that there were certain real world homages that you were trying to make because of this...
I couldn't remember what those were.
Well, okay. But like something like with K-- like King Arthur or something like that.
There's-- yes, there are... *interrupted*
But I don't remember what that was.
There are... the Fisher King.
Yeah, Google the Fisher King if you want to read about that. There's a lot of him... I mean, there's also Hindu and Muslim symbolism that I cribbed from, so to speak. The thing about Lan is I... if you press me, I would probably say he didn't die. But the parallelism of Rand in book 3 trying to raise from the dead and not being able to, and Rand in the last book with him there--
This man *inaudible*.
Yes. Um, you can make the argument that, and you know, we'll never know if he did or didn't. I think it is... I made it intentionally ambiguous. Brandon the reader, you press me, I'll say, "Eh, he probably didn't." But there is parallelism there, and it is intentional.
Does Paalm have any cameos in the first books?
In the first books, does Paalm have any cameos? RAFO.
We asked about Bloody Tan. He burned... What is it that he <stole>?
So... "Does he burn bendalloy?" is your question?
Um... So... Which version of Bloody Tan?
The non-Paalm version.
Alloy of Law version.
Okay, so the... Right... Okay, see, I have to kind of ask. He is not burning bendalloy any place you see, I don't believe. Why do you ask if he burns bendalloy?
He mentions that he stole or was involved in steeling a shipment of bendalloy.
Yeah. He steals this because it's worth money. I did-- *interrupted*
Oh, and he's-- wait, which one is-- Is that what makes you fast?
Yes, that's the one that-- *interrupted*
And that he moves Lessie so fast.
Yes, but then a time bubble would have to be used in that, and-- Oh, you mean for... No, yeah, then a time bubble would be involved and the whole bullet thing wouldn't work. He's not using the time bubble there.
Okay, that makes sense.
'Cause if he put up a time bubble he would be moving super fast. But Wax would have known that a time bubble was-- had been thrown up. So good question, but no. I don't believe... Yeah, he wasn't an Allomancer. He stole that because it's money. I can say that with 100% surety. I just have to look through and make sure, "Okay, I'm not-- I didn't do anything in the notes."
Has Hoid ever submitted a painting to the Court of Gods?
Hoid has... potentially submitted a painting. *group laughs* That's something he would do. But I have to say that as, "Brandon says that's something he would do. And 'sure.'" But that's not out of the notes or anything.
So the paintings that Lightsong reacted to...
Who painted those? Anyone in particular, or...?
They are important in the scheme of that book, yes.
Oh, anyone mentioned in that book? Anyone we know.
Oh, one of the paintings is important. Not all of them, but one of them.
Why do you have salt?
Because this is my tour box, and I like to salt my food. And sometimes I will be on tour and have to grab food real fast after a signing or before, and so I have salt to salt my food.
In the Graphic Audio books... Obviously they had to change things, and when Vasher wake-- or puts the rest of the Breath into the rope he uses a different Command. He says, "My breath to give for life to live." Is that that canon, or is that just...
So here's the thing... You have to be ver--...
I mean, I know he's got to...
...You know, he has to be careful with his Commands so he doesn't give away his Divine Breath.
I'm just wondered if that's the...
I think that's canon.
Canon. 'Cause it's not in the regular book.
But it's not in the regular book. I'm gonna have to go back and look, but I think that's canon.
Pretty sure. So yeah, you have to be really careful when you've got a Divine Breath, what you're doing. *interruption* I'm gonna have to go to Isaac and Peter to make sure that that's the canon thing. That they got that from us. But for now you can pretend that it is.
What's the earliest that we'll be seeing more of Scribbler (I'd heard a bunch about it at TWG, and so I found the sample chapters on your site and now I'm REALLY wanting more of it, so I'd like to know when I should start looking again...)?
Sigh. I really want to do something with Scribbler, but I can't justify it right now. I'm doing the fourth Alcatraz because I can't put it off any longer because of contracts, and Kings because Tor really wants a solo Brandon book next year. But I can't justify working too much on a project that hasn't been sold and which—if published—would end up pulling me into another side trilogy. I have to leave the WoT with the space it needs and deserves. Until it is completed, I have to shelve side projects. That, unfortunately, includes Scribbler. For now.
There are some things in the works with it, and I'm very excited about the possibilities. But there's nothing tangible I can give you now. It's coming. Maybe sooner than I've made it sound, but best to be careful as nothing is set yet.
If you could pick any actress to play Blushweaver in a movie based on Warbreaker, who would you pick? Monica Bulluci and Salma Hayek are top picks on your forum!
Monica Bellucci is a fantastic choice. Either her, or Angelina Jolie.
How would a tongueless God King give up his Breaths?
It involves the God King having a child. (Yes, it's possible.) I talk a little more about this in the annotations, but don't want to give too much away here.
Backup plan is to have a Returned heal him, like actually ended up happening.
Can you give any history on Denth? I don't know what he did as one of the Five Scholars. What was his roll during the Manywar?
Boy, you know, I'd rather leave the history of the Five and the Manywar for the sequel. Denth was there, and at first he tried to stop it, work as a peacemaker, and eventually took Vasher's side. Until the death of his sister.
How could Vasher become Drab, since he would have to give up his Big Breath to do so?
The Divine Breath can be hid. Essentially, you have to view yourself NOT as a god at all, using a very specific bit of mental gymnastics. As a Returned, your body changes based on how you see yourself. (This, by the way, is an indication that Lightsong was more pleased with himself than he ever let on.)
You don't lose your Divine Breath, but it does go into hiding, making you look like a normal person. But you're still Returned, and are consuming a Breath at one a week. If you give away your other Breaths, you retain this hidden one, but your body will still consume its own spirit if left to do so. So you still need a Breath a week to survive, and will die the week you don't get one.
I left this as an intentional place to explore the magic in the sequel, which I had planned to be writing (and posting on my website) by the time Warbreaker was out in stores. The WoT has diverted me, and so I feel bad, since this ends up being a confusing question that a number of readers have had. The hints toward how this is working are very difficult to find. (The biggest one is probably in the opening, where Vasher thinks about how he could reach the Fifth Heightening instantly, if he wanted to.)
Are/were all the Five Scholars Returned?
I've got a few Warbreaker questions: Is Clod a Lifeless Arsteel?
Yes. Good eye.
My question is about writing, kind of.
As an author, you have achieved moderate success. People like you and have heard of you within the genre and you have established a relationship with your publishing company that lets you get a lot of books published.
This is the level of success I want as a writer and I am just wondering how financially viable this is. Like, can you write only or do you need a so-called day job? Are you able to support your family with your writing alone? That kind of thing.
Sorry if that is kind of a personal question. I've just always wondered how much money a writer makes once they've "made it".
I had a lot of questions like this myself during my days trying to break in. Everyone told me it wasn't possible to make a living as a writer—that, like an actor or a musician, I'd spend my life poor and obscure.
One of the big turning points came when I met and talked to a professional writer who had had modest success. Not a huge name, but a person who had done what you hope to do. Publish a book every year, never be a household name, but well-known enough in-genre that a large portion of the readers had seen his books on the shelves, though many still had no idea who he was. (The author was David Farland, by the way.)
I wish I could give you that same experience, though it's going to be harder while not face to face. The main tone of the meeting and his encouragement was this: IT IS POSSIBLE and YOU CAN DO IT!
Not everyone can make a living at writing. But it's very within reach, and for the dedicated author willing to practice and learn, it's not as difficult to make a living as many make it out to be.
I do make a living full time at this, and have for several years now. In the early years, it wasn't what many would call a 'good' income, but it was enough for me. Now, it is an excellent income. Not "Fly to Europe every week" income, but certainly "Take your friends out to eat once in a while" income.
A standard royalty for an author would be to 10-15% on a hardcover, and around 8% on a paperback. Usually, the percentage gets better the more copies you sell.
Now, books don't sell the huge numbers that people usually think they do. If you sell 2k hardcover copies in your first week, you can get on the NYT list. (Though it's not certain—it depends on what week it is and what other books came out. 3k is a pretty sure bet, though.)
Elantris—an obscure, but successful, book—sold about 10k copies in hardcover and around 14k copies its first year in paperback. I've actually sold increasing numbers each year in paperback, as I've become more well-known. But even if you pretend that I didn't, and this is what I'd earn on every book, you can see that for the dedicated writer, this could be viable as an income. About $3 per book hardcover and about $.60 paperback gets us around 39k income off the book. Minus agent fees and self-employment tax, that starts to look rather small. (Just under 30k). But you could live on that, if you had to. (Remember you can live anywhere you want as a writer, so you can pick someplace cheap.)
I'd consider 30k a year to do what I love an extremely good trade-off. Yes, your friends in computers will be making far more. But you get to be a writer.
The only caveat here is that I did indeed get very lucky with my placement at Tor. It's the successful hardcover release that makes the above scenario work. If you only had the paperback, and everyone who bought the hardcover bought that instead, you'd have to be selling around 60k copies to make it work. That's very possible, and I know a lot of midlist writers who do it.
Anyway, numbers shouldn't be what gets you into this business. If you have to tell stories, tell them. To be a writer, I feel you need to have such a love of the process that you'd write those books even if you never sold one. It's not about the money, and really shouldn't be. (And sorry to go on so long. I just feel it important to give aspiring writers the same kinds of help that I got.)
Also, was there an inspiration for Vin and if so who/what was it?
Vin has been hard for me to pin down, inspiration wise. I tried so many different variations on her character (even writing her character as a boy) that it's hard to pinpoint when I got it right. There was no one single inspiration for her. (Unlike Sarene, who was based on a friend of mine.) She's a mix of my sisters, a good writer friend of mine, and a dozen different other little bits of people.
The time when I got her character RIGHT was when I wrote the scene that became her first in Mistborn, where she's watching the ash blow in the street, and envies it for its freedom. That, mixed with Kelsier's observation that she isn't a bad person—she just thinks everyone else is—were the big points where her character took form.
Are you going to write more about the Mistborn? There's still those mysterious metals, and it's a brand new world out there now so many possibilities you could do with that!
I will, someday, write a follow-up trilogy to Mistborn. It will be set several hundred years after the events of the first trilogy, after technology has caught up to where it should be. Essentially, these will be urban fantasy stories set in the same world. Guns, cars, skyscrapers—and Allomancers.
That's still pretty far off, though. The other metals are being revealed on the poster I'm releasing of the Allomantic table. Should be for sale on my website sometime soon, though someone here can probably link to the image I posted of it, which has the other metals explained. (I can't remember where exactly that link is right now.)
Hero of the new trilogy would be a nicrosil Misting.
I love Mistborn! (also Elantris). I can hardly wait to begin on Warbreaker. I know many have questions on the metal based ideas. In Elantris, where did the idea for the disease come from?
Three things. First, some reading I was doing about leper colonies. I wanted to tell a story about someone locked into a similar situation, only tie it to the magic of the world and the history of the city itself.
Secondly, I had this crazy desire to do a book starring zombies that nobody would realize were zombies. It was one of those things that stuck in my head. Undead corpses, with weak bodies that slowly stop working? As heroes? Could I make it work?
Finally, the idea of pain that didn't go away. What would happen if every little wound you took continued to hurt just as badly as it had in the first moment of pain? And what if that pain never, never went away?
How difficult was it to come up with new magic systems considering the wealth of fantasy out there with already established magic systems(that seems to just get re-used in different formats by various other authors)? Do you have more systems to be used in future novels? If so how do you go about envisioning them and creating the rules in the first place?
I've got a few very nifty ones reserved for the future. Don't worry; I'm not nearly out of ideas yet. And I'm constantly having new ones I don't have time to use.
There IS a lot of fantasy out there. And yet, I think there's a great deal of room left for exploration in magic. The frontiers of imagination are still rough-and-tumble, unexplored places, particularly in this genre. It seems that a lot of fantasy sticks very close to the same kinds of magic systems.
One of the things I've come to believe is that limitations are more important than powers in many cases. By not limiting themselves in what their characters can do, authors often don't have to really explore the extent of the powers they've created. If you are always handing your characters new powers, then they'll use the new and best—kind of like giving your teen a new car every year, rather than forcing them to test the limits of what that old junker will do. Often, those old cars will surprise you. Same thing for the magic. When you're constrained, as a writer, by the limits of the magic, it forces you to be more creative. And that can lead to better storytelling and a more fleshed out magic.
Now, don't take this as a condemnation of other books. As writers, we all choose different things to focus on in our stories, and we all try different things. Jordan's ability to use viewpoint, Martin's use of character, Pratchett's use of wit—these are things that far outshine anything I've been able to manage in my works so far.
But I do think that there is a great deal of unexplored ground still left to map out in some of these areas. (Specifically magic and setting.) A great magic system for me is one that has good limitations that force the characters to be creative, uses good visuals to make the scenes more engaging while written, and has ties to the culture of the world and the motivations of the viewpoint characters.
When it comes to crazy plot twists, fascinating characters, magic systems, humor, religion, etc., what do you feel, for you, is the hardest part to get on paper or come up with?
I would say that the most difficult parts have to do with getting a character's internal conflicts (if they have them) right. Sometimes, this can take a lot of exploration. Sazed in Mistborn 3 took a LOT of work before I was satisfied.
Second hardest is getting the humor right, particularly witty style humor like in the Lightsong sections of Warbreaker. There are frequently times when I spend hours on a single line in sections like that.
Finally, do you have any advice for people that would like to write for a living?
First and foremost, don't give up. It can take a while. It takes time to master anything—whether it be writing, playing the piano, or brain surgery. People are willing to dedicate eight years or more to becoming a doctor. If you really want to be a writer, you need to be willing to dedicate the same amount of time and effort. Practice. Practice some more. Write a book, then write another, then write another. (I didn't sell my first, or my second, or my fifth. Elantris was my sixth book.)
Secondly, write what you love. Don't try and guess the market. Read the type of books you want to write, pay attention to what they do, and decide what it is you want to say and how you will add to the discussion. What makes your additions to the conversation unique? Write it because you feel it inside of you, not because it's what seems to be hot right now.
Finally, if I may make a plug, hop over to writingexcuses.com and listen to me and the others on our writing podcast talk about this sort of thing. ;)
Also, how did the experiment with Warbreaker turn out, and are you planning to do this with any other things you write?
It's so hard to tell, sales-wise, how it helped or hurt. I don't, honestly, think it hurt—and I think it could only have helped, as more and more WoT readers turned their eyes on me and were able to grab a book to read for free. I do plan to do it again in the future, most likely with the Warbreaker sequel.