Recent entries

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8501 Copy

    Questioner

    At the beginning of Steelheart you say that it was a year after Calamity when people started getting powers.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    At the beginning of Firefight, at the end of the prologue, people started screaming. Why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, Peter [Ahlstrom, Brandon's assistant] asked me the same question. And so, the rise of Calamity, number one, was really weird. And number two, there was weirdness with that night [?], associated with the rise of Calamity, that was not the start of the Epics.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8506 Copy

    Questioner

    I noticed, in The Alloy of Law, Marsh refers to-- when he is talking to Marasi he says that Wax is doing his brother’s work. I was wondering, is that referring to Harmony or Kelsier?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s referring to Kelsier in that quote, in his opinion at the moment. I don’t know if I agree with it. He feels that Wax is protecting the people, the little people, which was Kelsier’s work in his... opinion of Kelsier, which is a little lofty.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8509 Copy

    Questioner

    If Feruchemists can store warmth, and you can Compound if you have the dual... Could they harm themselves by drawing too much warmth?

    Questioner

    Could they draw it out of their body and therefore kill themselves by freezing themselves?

    Questioner

    Either way. Either that, or burn and Compound too much...

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is harder to do that you think it [is], because built into Feruchemy is the natural body's resistance to the things you're doing, but it is possible.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8511 Copy

    Questioner

    If you were a Leecher, could you destroy a Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to RAFO that for now, let's just say that it would be incredibly difficult if it were possible, and I'm not going to even say if it is. But that kind of power... 

    Questioner

    Let's just say they were burning duralumin as well.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's just say that the Investiture in a Shardblade is much greater than your average Allomancer, but... This type of thing is not unheard of in the Cosmere. The larkin, the Leechers, and Nightblood all have a similar sort of thing going on. Destroying a Shardblade would be really hard. And Investiture resists other forms of Investiture, so.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8512 Copy

    Questioner

    The guards that are used on the Shardblades, that people are able to work with them safely, are those made of aluminum?

    Brandon Sanderson

    [...] This is an excellent question that is well asked, and people are thinking along the right lines. I haven't answered 100%, but people are thinking the right way.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8513 Copy

    Questioner

    So, in Elantris, the earthquake that [???], was that [caused? counterplayed?] by Shards, by some powers...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't really dug into that, but the number one thing people assume is that it was the shattering of Dominion and Devotion, which is not the case. They were broken much earlier. The Splintering [of them] happened much earlier.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8514 Copy

    Questioner

    The ten Surges on Roshar, I think you've said are basically a different set of laws of physics.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Questioner

    Are those laws of physics consistent throughout the Cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, to an extent. You would consider, like - it's kind of weird because I based them on the idea of the fundamental forces, but this is kind of like a human construction. You could say that physics is pure and natural, but we're still putting things in boxes. And the scientists on Roshar would, for instance, consider being able to travel between the Cognitive and Physical Realms as a force, the thing that pulls people back and forth between that, as a fundamental force. I don't know if it would fit our definition of a fundamental force.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #8515 Copy

    Questioner

    The Rithmatist 2 kind of took a... <stage to the background with everything>. Do you have any idea when that's gonna be...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We're getting close. We're getting close. I will do it most likely between Stormlight 3 and 4, somewhere. I can't promise where, but it's getting really close. I'm going to start reading the first book to my son very soon; he's nine now. And once I read it out loud with him I will be ready to write the second. I'll be back in the world.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #8519 Copy

    Questioner

    What's the penalty for killing a highprince, like Adolin did to Sadeas?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Official law is kind of confusing, because before the unification of Alethkar back into a kingdom, killing a highprince was like killing the monarch of another country. So if you did it on the field of battle it's fine. If you assassinate them it's considered a bad-- a mark of dishonor. But, what's gonna happen? I mean, your own people are gonna probably be like, "Okay, you killed the other highprince. You shouldn't have done that." But, you know... the enemy... *laughing* But now that there's a kingdom, those sort of laws are different. So it's going to cause a legal conundrum. Does that make sense?

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8521 Copy

    Questioner

    When Wax's uncle gets blown up and [the Faceless Immortal] says "you will serve us in another realm", is that a [truth] ?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wait wait, who says that?

    Questioner

    With Suit, the end of Bands of Mourning? He gets blown up...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh right, right...So, yeah, that is not specifically answered on purpose. That is meant to be more ambiguous, it may not even be a true statement.

    Questioner

    So their deity doesn't pick which souls...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not saying yes or no, I'm just saying, don't take what they say as law, as the actual state of things. It may just be a belief on their part.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8522 Copy

    Questioner

    The world of Sixth of the Dusk [First of the Sun], is it going to make another appearance?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will likely make another appearance, I am unlikely to do another story there just because I have too many things to do sequels too, but if you keep your eyes open, you can see...

    Questioner

    Is Hoid related?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will see some more.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #8523 Copy

    Questioner

    In the new novella for the Stormlight Archive. <Edgedancer.>

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mhm?

    Questioner

    When she gets the cart over the edge of the ledge, it mentions that there was black sand on the ground? Was that Hoid, or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was not Hoid.

    Questioner

    Was that due to what she did, or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was Wyndle.

    Questioner

    Okay, he left black sand?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, his, uh-- he decayed into dust. 

    Questioner

    Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And so...

    Questioner

    Okay. Wondering if it was related to White Sand.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's something going on there. But no, it is not the white-- it is not sand. I should be careful about use the word sand, particularly black sand. But I was just thinking of Wyndle with that one. 

    Questioner

    Okay, okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a false positive on the cosmere connection.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #8525 Copy

    Questioner

    Is Khriss a reliable narrator?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Khriss is reliable. She doesn't know everything, so there are some things that she doesn't quite get right. But she usually will acknowledge, "I'm not sure about this." Okay?

    Questioner

    Okay, cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can trust Khriss as much as you can trust most experts in their field.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8526 Copy

    Questioner

    The Cognitive and the Physical Realms...do they stay connected to the Shardworld for the character they're related to, or can you go back and forth - like in Secret History, when he passes off of Scadrial and to the outskirts, within I guess the Cognitive Realm, is that something they could do with other Shardworlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8527 Copy

    Questioner

    Did something happen to Demoux between Mistborn and Stormlight to turn him into a jerk, or am I misinterpreting his actions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is not a jerk, but he is not...

    Questioner

    As pure as he is in Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. He's a little more idealistic than pure, how about that?

    Questioner

    Are we going to hear that story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. [...] I'm toying with some stuff in Secret History 2, it'll get into some of this.

    Questioner

    Is there going to be more Secret History?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They have to go into the cracks between other books, but not...I am planning to do more right now, I'm not opposed to having more like that happen.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8528 Copy

    heridfel

    There are different kinds of spren that bond with people and it appears they’re based on a concept. Is it possible to have a concept which would make a Nahel bond that gives two Surges that don’t align to one of the Radiant orders?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, uh...this is a theoretical possibility that has not happened yet.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8531 Copy

    taveren

    If someone goes to every planet and get Invested from every Shard, if he was Invested enough would he become a new Shard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s an excellent question that I’m not going to answer.

    taveren

    And I am assuming you will not answer if anyone is trying to do that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yup, I am not going to answer. Sorry. That's too deeply related to things that are happening in the Cosmere and I don’t want to dig into for a little while yet.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8532 Copy

    Questioner

    Why is Dalinar very strict of Adolin but not with Renarin and Elhokar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a little bit - I would say a slight flaw on Dalinar's part, he's too hard on Adolin. But that's because Adolin is in line for the throne, and he's the eldest son, and the heir, and all of that stuff. I would say that Dalinar's a little too lax in some ways, a little too strict in others.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #8537 Copy

    Questioner

    Do they have a concept of alcoholism in Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Does Dalinar’s family have it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That will be answered in the next book, but you should definitely be asking that question.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #8539 Copy

    Argent

    When you say that the Returned are cognitive shadows, are they shadows of the people they were pre-death? In other words, is Lightsong Llarimar's cognitive shadow stapled to his body with a Divine Breath?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, they are. (The evidence in the books is Lightsong obtaining some of the memories his pre-death soul had.)

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #8540 Copy

    The_Immortal_Shogun

    Is there some reason why the characters in the cover don't seem to reflect the Hawaiian esque description you seem to have in your head. For Kaladin for example

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Basically, I was too intimidated by being able to work with Michael Whelan to be picky.

    It goes a little further than that. The original cover was closer in skin tone and features to what I'd imagined. (Remember, I view the Alethi as kind of Asian Hawaiian hybrids.) However, the pose and overall look of the figure wasn't great.

    I chose not to say anything, because I love Mr. Whelan's work, and was simply thrilled to be working with him. Plus, I liked the cover quite a bit, even if something was slightly off with the figure. Well, Mr. Whelan obviously saw what I had, and over the next few months we got a string of revisions from him.

    By the time he'd settled on the current one (which was the best of the ones he'd sent) I didn't want to bother him with redesigning Kaladin yet again.

    We're still trying to get this right. In working with Dan Dos Santos to do the clothing portraits in the second book, I kept having trouble describing to him what to use. I think he got much closer to the look of the Alethi, but I don't feel we're there yet.

    Third cover is shaping up nicely, and we're being careful to nudge Mr. Whelan toward a more Alethi look.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #8541 Copy

    Argent

    I've been listening to this year's Writing Excuses, and in one of the more recent episodes you had a romance author (whose name I can't recall right now), and the topic of how popular the romance genre is, and how good some of its authors are came up. I don't think I've ever read a romance novel, but I wondered whether you can recommend one that might appeal to your readers? I am curious to see what makes those books so popular, but I don't want to just pick something from the bookstore's shelf...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I might start with something in-between, like Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince. It's shelved in fantasy, but has some strong romance roots. (The author has even written a romance novel or two.)

    Mary's own Shades of Milk and Honey is a romance novel that is shelved in fantasy as well.

    As for straight up romance, let me think about it. Most of what I enjoy is hybrid.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #8543 Copy

    montywoodpeg

    Would you or [Peter] consider joining the reddit Cosmere Discord for a kind of AMA or even just a visit to chat? I can certainly understand if you wanted to maintain control over dialogue than what live text (or audio) chat could provide, but I can't help thinking it would make for a great form of interaction with an audience of dedicated fans. There's non-cosmere sections available to just discuss books in general, for what it's worth.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not opposed to this sort of thing.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #8544 Copy

    StickerBrush

    Maybe not the best place to ask, but one of your remarks reminded me:

    will input beta reader comments and writing group comments

    So, do you have one master document where you input their comments? How do you organize and consolidate all of their input? I'm a part of a writer's group and I now have like 5-6 copies of each chapter I've submitted and I have no idea how to get started in organizing it.

    My best idea so far is to have one master doc (which is a clone of the original) and mark it up with each user's feedback.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't actually have people mark up the text any more, but I used to do it as you say. These days, I instead put up a google sheet with a tab for each chapter, and then I have beta readers put feedback on the appropriate tab. Peter then collates these comments and inserts them into a draft of the book for me to read in context and made decisions about.

    StickerBrush

    Time to find me a Peter.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Peter Ahlstrom

    It's possible to use Word's Merge Documents feature even on 5–6 copies of a chapter (just do two at a time). But this can create a lot of artifacts. I did that during the Towers of Midnight editing and it's a real pain dealing with all of the repeat punctuation that appears, like ,”,”,”,”,”

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #8545 Copy

    Telen

    How would a Desolation look like on another Shardworld? Would it look different or just more or less similar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The term "Desolation" isn't really a cosmere-wide term. It's a Rosharan word for a specific type of event that happens there--and so I have no context for what it would mean no other worlds.

    Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
    #8546 Copy

    inthearena

    To answer the inevitable question, the beta readers are chosen by Peter--my assistant and editorial director--from among those who have been very active on the fan websites, or who know us personally.

    Don't you think this invite survivor bias? If the only ones who beta you books are people who love your books (granted there are a lot of them ;-) doesn't that result in a particularly district set of people who are reading for specific things?

    Just curious.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Betas are supposed to be a test audience, not a critical audience. Meaning, I just want to judge how my fanbase will respond to the book.

    For alphas (my editorial team) I look for the strong criticism. For Betas, I want people who are partial to the work, as they represent the average fan. I do try to fill them with some people who are more casual fans, as opposed to only the hardcore.

    SouthernNorthEast

    For alphas (my editorial team) I look for the strong criticism. For Betas, I want people who are partial to the work, as they represent the average fan. I do try to fill them with some people who are more casual fans, as opposed to only the hardcore.

    Do you get a lot of information that you use from these Beta readers? Or - do you take a lot of that and actual use it in edits and revisions down the road?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We do get a lot of information, but it's more...how to describe it. It's more general AND more specific.

    On one hand, what we get from the betas is a general feel for the book, and how it will be received. We also get specific little continuity goofs that we've missed.

    Editorial tends to be able to talk about story structure, characterization, that sort of thing on the macro scale. Betas tend to give more of a view of the book emotionally--is this book matching expectations, are parts of it boring, that sort of thing.

    Stormlight Three Update #7 ()
    #8548 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Well, on Friday Brandon was explaining what's in book 4 and 5, and after he got well into it I said, "So we're in book 5 now, right?" and he said, "No..."

    _Kelsier_

    Since each book is getting longer than the others and having heard what he wants in book 4, do you think he will have to split book 4? I don't want to look past the mark, but it seems like he's on track to have to publish Stones Unhallowed parts 1 and 2.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    In this case, he could probably move some plot elements from book 4 to book 5. The issues that make Oathbringer unsplittable probably won't apply then.

    Stormlight Three Update #7 ()
    #8549 Copy

    jmcgit

    You don't have to worry about him becoming unproductive, but I do worry a little about Stormlight taking more out of him and needing more and more "hamburger and fries" to recharge. I also am suddenly worried about the series growing beyond 10 books, especially with Peter Ahlstrom suggesting that story could be moved from 4 to 5, but story can't be moved from 5 to 6 without delaying the planned time jump.

    GRRM started with ASOIAF planned as a trilogy, and even if he were fully healthy and productive, it's hard to see how he would wrap this up in the currently planned seven. Wheel of Time was pitched as a trilogy, and the publisher knew better, and Jordan was signed to six books, we wound up with 14. Stormlight Archive originated as a 10 book series, and now I'm slightly worried as to whether this is going to grow like many fantasy series do.

    I don't think it would be by much, Sanderson appears to have a much more detailed plan than some of these other authors, but even growth from 10 books to 12 books would make a huge difference considering the interesting concepts I'd like to read that are bottlenecked behind the end of Stormlight.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    I think that if he ends up with too much content, more novellas like Edgedancer are much more likely than expanding the number of books.

    Also, Brandon has already moved plot elements forward in the name of awesome. Moash's plot for book 2 was originally planned to be in book 3.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #8550 Copy

    Questioner

    I started reading Elantris. The question is... Okay, I remember they were saying, the Elantrians, "Oh my gosh, we're hurt!" You know the hurt doesn't go away. But when they said <the Hoed who wander>, like when people get burned, like an Elantrian, does their soul sort of hang around the air as a spirit of sheer pain, I remember that. Was that just a theory, or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's just a theory. Good question. Yeah, no.

    Questioner

    Okay, thank God. That was really horrible.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope, nope, no. They will use... In Secret History you see what happens. That happens on all of the worlds. Even <with an Elantrian>.