I have a question about Wayne, are his skills of taking another personality, is it his trait, or something magical?
It is not magical, he’s just really good at it.
I have a question about Wayne, are his skills of taking another personality, is it his trait, or something magical?
It is not magical, he’s just really good at it.
Do you have any idea when you’ll finish this series?
So there’ll be two five-book groups, first five should finish fairly soon. But then there’ll be a break while I write something else and then I’ll come back to the back five, so i’m not sure, but the first five will have their own arc.
Do you know when <inaudible> be published?
I can't promise. I'm not a 100% sure. Probably between Stormlight 5 and 6, it would be my guess.
Will we find out if Vivenna became a worldhopper like Vasher?
Keep your eyes open, you might see some more Vivenna in the near future.
So Dragonsteel after Stormlight? So that would be 20 years?
It will be the next to last, because last is the final Mistborn series.
Which one of the ten abilities on Roshar <inaudible> it depends on spren?
Which of the Orders?
Of the abilities on Roshar.
Oh, the abilities of the Knights Radiant?
So, this depends on which spren indeed. Each spren can give two of the abilities, and they're slightly different for each Order.
If you could have one, which one would it be?
Probably Windrunners, cause I would want to fly.
I would prefer Regrowth it's very much for growing plants.
That would be very convenient.
How do you come up with all these names?
I do the language first and then I build names that fit. There’s no science to it, just instinct.
Could you tell me something about Cosmere, that we don't know?
Oooh boy, that is so hard, people ask this all the time and I keep running out of things... Was there anything I haven't added recently... There are Shards whose Shardpools are not on a planet they currently inhabit. At least one.
What’s your favourite game?
Probably Dark Souls, lately, I really like those.
Are they going to be Graphic Audio audiobooks for all books or just...?
Will there ever be Mistborn video game?
We tried very hard to make a video game and the company that was making it eventually went out of business and couldn't make it. So we don't have plans right now but we will try again.
I wonder, if original shardholders [Vessels] was another sapient species, not from...
Not human? Or...
Human but not from...
Not from Yolen? So... no, everybody was from Yolen.
Not all human, but all from Yolen.
Did you eventually <adaptations? based> any of your other novels?
I think they'll eventually do Stormlight, most likely. I think they will. But we'll have to see. I think there'll be a Stormlight.
When's the next Elantris?
It's a little ways away. I will write one but it's kinda far away.
What if a Connector tried to store his Connection to his time of birth? Because I understand that’s how spiritual age works.
Right, Connection to his time of birth. I’m not sure exactly how he would manage that.
I don’t think that would work, I’m not sure how you would manage it. There are other ways to make, you’re along the right path, but that’s not exactly what, the terminology it's just not working right there.
By the way Shadows of Self was my favourite Mistborn book. That ending was just emotional trainwreck for me. It was awesome.
It's weird because I think that the weakest Mistborn novel is actually Alloy of Law but I think Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning are among the strongest.
Could you write [sign] the Alcatraz like Alcatraz?
Yes. He signs upside down.
Would tapping Connection increase the steelsight?
No, probably not, there are arrangements that could make that happen but just tapping it, no.
Have you ever read any Polish fantasy or are you planning to?
I am planning to read cause I have this! *shows flashdrive* I was just given this flashdrive in Warsaw with a bunch of Polish writers translated to English and I plan to do some of that.
Before that my only knowledge of Polish fantasy was Spa... Sark... [Sapkowski] the Witcher guy! *laughter* I mean, everybody knows him though.
But, the Solaris writer I didn't know he was also Polish. Lem.
My question is for both of you: regarding the translation process, is word-for-word translation more important or to go with the feeling and how much communication is <going on ... > the process?
When I was at university, I had two lecturers. One said: "The original is sacred. You mustn't do anything to original. It's so important, you have to <inaudible> everything." and the other when I went fifteen minutes later to another class it was "Oh dear. It should read well. Forget the original, it should read well". So I think I found a kind of balance between those two stances.
And I always tell translators to err on the side of reading well rather than preserving the exact words. Particularly cause some of the language you're translating into can't preserve exact words.
When Anna wrote to us I sent her to my assisstant Peter, who is an editor and continuity editor and I let him interface with all of the translators because I would probably just ask him anyway to look the details up in our wiki. We do occasionaly have to answer new questions though because for instance - as Anna pointed out to me - Polish has a lot of gendered words that aren't gendered in English and sometimes I'd use a phrase and have to say whether this person was male or female.
Will we see Scadrial in cyberpunk era?
I have plans for Scadrial cyberpunk but the problem is I don't know if I'll have a long enough lifespan to write all these books. So I'm trying to avoid adding any more books to the Cosmere outline until I get a little further along I'm gonna have to write; consider that Oathbringer turned out to be a quarter longer than Words of Radiance. I really need to be sure I'm keeping going and trying to keep from expanding too big. Definitely the 1980s one, some cyberpunk themes will bleed into it cause that's when cyberpunk started.
But maybe I'll see the new Blade Runner and I'll have to write one, so...
Three books or three authors you'd recommend to any fantasy reader?
If I were to recommend one, it would probably be the first Mistborn novel.
Apart from your books.
Terry Pratchett is probably my favorite writer. I really liked Anne McCarthy work and I think it translates very well to large or different types of audiences. I often give Name of the Wind to people, it's good introduction to fantasy, it's a really solid novel.
But of course there is also Wheel of Time. I genuinely recommend Wheel of Time to people who already love fantasy cause it's a big commitment.
If Hoid swallowed duraluminum would anything happen?
If Hoid swallowed duralumin would anything happen... Um… yes!
Is that the end of your answer?
Yes, that’s the end of my answer.
Do you listen to music while writing and what kind of music is it? Is there perhaps any song that is particularly connected to Cosmere?
I made a Spotify playlist. You can go on Spotify - I assume you can get it in Poland - and you look for Stormlight 3 soundtrack. That was the soundtrack I listened to while I was writing the third Stormlight novel. You'll know it is me when you look for it cause my Spotify name is "mistborn1".
And - because people are going to ask, so we'll answer it now - Stormlight 3 comes out in November in English.
And it will come out in Polish when I translate it.
So it's all up to Anna.
And I did write one more scene for it this morning that I needed to add, in Kraków, so when you read Stormlight 3 you can know there was one scene that was written in my hotel here.
It involves one of the Ryshadium horses, so you'll know.
How many hours a day to you spend on writing and how much do you sleep?
*laughter* I'm an insomniac, that helps a little bit. But actually I don't... I have a very good work-life balance. People think that I must be writing sixteen hours a day but I'm not. I'm very good with my time and I have no commute which saves me a bit of time. So I spend around eight to ten hours working a day. A chunk of that is answering interview questions or email or things like that. I spend maybe four hours a day with my wife and my kids, doing whatever they want and a couple hours goofing off.
What more can I ask for?
<strangling rilinquist> Are you planning to create a novel in the future?
Shadows for Silence? This is one of my novellas, called Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell. I am planning one novel but I'll have to fit it in my schedule, I have lots of things to do.
How do you like Poland, especially Kraków?
I love Poland, especially Krakow. The food has been delicious so far. I haven't actually seen much of Krakow yet but I'm going out doing tourist things tomorrow.
How do you create such a complex character as Legion? How, where did you get the aspects from and did you consult any psychiatrists?
Legion came from a conversation I had with friend of mine named Dan Wells. And he loves to write stories about... horror stories about people who are dealing with mental disability. And I told him what if there was somebody who was schizophrenic and the people they saw helped them out instead of inspiring their paranoia. And he said "that doesn't sound like a horror novel, you should write that, Brandon; it sounds like your style of novel". And it's true: if you haven't read Legion, it's about a guy who sees hallucinations of people who all help him solve crimes. And the inspiration is really all the weird voices that authors have in their heads about all these characters.
There are games, comic books and films had been made or are being made based on your novels. How do you coordinate work so there are no, lets say, errors in it and tell something about <that experience>
Coordinating to make sure there are no errors: I wish that Hollywood would let us do that! Mostly they kinda do what they want to do and then send us what they've come up with. I am working with one company right now that seems like that they are willing to listen a little bit better.
<Throughout> other things that hasn't been particularly difficult. <For> the RPG, I am a gamer, I love RPG and so it's very easy to work with them. In fact where it came from is they came to one of my signings and said "Do you want to make an RPG?" and I'm like "Yeah, I want to make an RPG!". So we had some brainstorming sessions where I told them my favorite styles of game and they built rules that they've thought to match Mistborn and kinds of things I wanted.
We'll see what happens with the movies. They are in development and they're very early in the process.
So this is the question about White Sand. Why did this text become the basis of a comic - this one particular text - and how was the work going on converting White Sand into a graphic novel?
So White Sand was the very first book that I ever wrote, or at least a bad version of White Sand was the first book I ever wrote. I started it in 1994 and it was terrible. But I liked some of the ideas so years later I gave it another try. And it became my 7th or 8th book; I can never remember which came first: White Sand or Dragonsteel. And it was much better but still not quite where I wanted it to be. So I never ended up publishing it.
When a comic book company in America came to me and asked if I was interested in doing a comic book, it <immediately> sprung to mind. Because they wanted to do an adaptation of one of my books except I didn’t want to do a book that was already published, I wanted something for readers that was new. And I’ve always felt that White Sand was close to being good enough, it was just too long, it needed an edit. So the primary process for adapting it with Rick, who is a UK graphic novel writer involved him taking my text and cutting it way down to just the dialogue and the actions. And he did a fantastic job, we’re very pleased with that, but he did most of the work on that.
Would you like to be a ruler of the world even if you knew that it wasn't a real world?
Nooo... no, no, no. I could not be trusted.
In fact the Steelheart book came because of something related to this. For those who haven't read it, it's about what would happen if people started gaining superpowers but only evil people got them.
And happened because I was driving on the road and someone cut me off and I imagined using superpowers to blow up their car and I immediately realized: "I could not be trusted. At all.".
How are you feeling now that you're near science fiction since you're known for fantasy novels. <inaudible> Young Adult?
Most of my books are what we'd call hard fantasy anyway; which is fantasy that uses science fiction's styling to build it's worlds. So I don't know that for me there's a hard line between science fiction and fantasy. There certainly isn't a hard line between my interest on one side or the other; I like all kinds of speculative fiction. Though I will say that I have trouble making anything normal. Legion is a good example which is a psychological thriller that ended up being science fiction and a little bit fantasy.
I was thinking, was there <inaudible> Allomantic metals <inaudible> random or was there something behind it?
I wanted the metals that had an alloy, that was commonly used and is easily accessible to people in a pre-industrial society.
When they go and discover more of the periodic table, is there a chance they’ll discover <inaudible>
There is a chance, yes.
I recently read Patrick Rothfuss’ the Name of the Wind; there’s Sympathy <inaudible> Awakening. Is there a link <inaudible> to the Awakening <inaudible>
We actually were writing at the same time. We both were interested in the same things… No, no, he wrote his first, but I haven’t read it until I’ve written Warbreaker, but his was first. We were both interested in the same concepts… I think it’s a really great magic system. <inaudible> I wrote Warbreaker in 2006.
Oh, because I checked the release date, and yours was 2009 and his was 2007.
Yup, but I wrote in 2006 on my honeymoon, actually. But yeah, it was after I read that, his magic is really cool, I like it, it is a good job, I like how it’s hard magic and a soft magic.
So first, about Trell… He was first mentioned in the books in the first Mistborn book. Did you know what role he'll be playing in the future books?
When I wrote it? When I actually wrote Mistborn, no, by the time I’d done revisions and finished the series, then I knew. Mistborn was very exploratory, the first book, once I finished it then I build the outline to fit it, that’s very common for me that I write a first book without an outline and then I build the outline around it.
Will Nalt, brother of Trell <inaudible>
The brother? So there’s something very weird happening with Trell, very very weird, that I’m not going to explain quite yet, so that’s a RAFO.
What's the "skycolor" about which Khriss said in the White Sand?
What's the what? Skycolor?
It was mentioned in White Sand prose.
What about it?
What it really is? Because she mentioned it and that was only one sentence. Skycolor?
(seems still confused) Skycolor?
Oh. Oh! RAFO.
Is Hoid a Sliver?
A Sliver, no he’s not, good question.
Well, I get the RAFO card.
He... see, the problem is, “Sliver” is really difficult to define, because it has variety of meanings, but I would not call him one. So that’s… it’s arguable, but I would say no.
He's not Sliver.
(translated) What’s the Allomantic symbol for the metal that comes from Trell?
*Laughs* Ooooh, Isaac knows, but it hasn’t been revealed yet, so you get a RAFO, I don’t have any more cards, but R A F O *probably he has written it*, good question!
What’s your favourite kind of music?
I would say… at the end of the day… epic orchestra. But I will listen to basically anything. If you look on Spotify I have this playlist that I used when I wrote the third Stormlight book and you can listen to that, it'll show you a lot of my favorites.
Yeah, I'm "mistborn1", I think? If you google, if you search for Stormlight 3 soundtrack, you'll find it.
I wanted to ask, is the Shardbearer [Vessel] of Odium a human?
Not any longer.
Ok, that's... I didn't expect that one.
But what the answer to your question you really want to know is, was he originally human?
Yes. That's a good question! But I don't think he counts anymore.
Are there 50 Allomantic metals?
Nearly. Does Harmony have a metal?
Is that an alloy of lerasium and atium?
You're along the right lines.
I asked if Axies could regrow limbs.
He stated that he could do 'some interesting things', and that the two species of Aimian (whom Axies is of) each do different interesting things.
Could it be that spren and seons are basically very similar things?
He smiled, thought about how to answer that for a second and then said... "Yes, it could be."
Since I started the thread about outposts and stone bridges, I felt like getting some input there.
Brandon told me that single highprinces could not erect outposts because due to the superior mobility of the Parshendi—they would overwhelm any small outpost quickly. Soulcasting stone bridges is also not plausible. Apparently, they would need to first get the wooden bridge out there, then soulcast it and then, since the stone is heavier than the wood, they would have to reinforce it, e.g. with ropes. These could then be cut by the Parshendi, so it would not help at all. Dalinar with his mobile bridges is on a better track in his opinion. He did say however that several highprinces working together could easily establish outposts in the Plains. He said the competitive nature of the Alethi was doing them a huge disservice in the war and that if they would work together, they could have taken the Plains long ago.
A girl asked what was up with Taravangian, since it seemed a rough break between the tottering old man and the scheming mastermind that Szeth meets at the end.
Brandon said that Taravangian used the Old Magic, and that he wakes up each day with a different IQ. Sometimes he's a genius, sometimes he's an idiot. So what he does is he writes up math puzzles for himself in the evening, and if he cannot get a certain score in the morning the guards have orders to just take care of him and keep him away from important decisions for that day. That way he keeps his effect under control.
Someone asked if it were hard to write Jasnah, an atheist character, for a devout Christian.
Brandon said he read a lot of atheist message boards for inspiration. Also, it sounded like he'd had the character in his head for a while, but hadn't found the right book to put it in—e.g. he said it would make no sense to put an atheist in a world where gods walk around (i.e. Warbreaker).
Ok, last question. It was really difficult coming up with three questions that haven’t been asked already...
OK... you’re not going to ask me the “what would you ask me” question?
OK good, because I hate that one! (laughs)
My question is if there’s anything that you’ve never been asked that you would like to talk about?
Oooooh, ok. Hm. That one is so hard! Every time people ask me something like this... What have I never been asked that people should be asking, is basically what the question is? Something that the fans have just missed... They pick up on so much, that it’s hard... I do wonder if, you know… all the magic systems [in my books] are connected and work on some basic fundamental principles, and a lot of people haven’t been asking questions about this. One thing I did get a question on today, and I’ll just talk about this one... they didn’t ask the right question, but I nudged them the right way, is understanding that tie between AonDor [the magic system from Elantris] and Allomancy [Mistborn’s magic system].
People ask about getting the power from metals and things, but that’s not actually how it works. The power’s not coming from metal. I talked a little about this before, but you are drawing power from some source, and the metal is actually just a gateway. It’s actually the molecular structure of the metal… what’s going on there, the pattern, the resonance of that metal works in the same way as an Aon does in Elantris. It filters the power. So it is just a sign of “this is what power this energy is going to be shaped into and give you.” When you understand that, Compounding [in Alloy of Law] makes much more sense.
Compounding is where you are able to kind of draw in more power than you should with Feruchemy. What’s going on there is you’re actually charging a piece of metal, and then you are burning that metal as a Feruchemical charge. What is happening is that the Feruchemical charge overwrites the Allomantic charge, and so you actually fuel Feruchemy with Allomancy, is what you are doing. Then if you just get out another piece of metal and store it in, since you’re not drawing the power from yourself, you’re cheating the system, you’re short-circuiting the system a little bit. So you can actually use the power that usually fuels Allomancy, to fuel Feruchemy, which you can then store in a metalmind, and basically build up these huge reservoirs of it. So what’s going on there is… imagine there’s like, an imprint, a wavelength, so to speak. A beat for an Allomantic thing, that when you burn a metal, it says “ok, this is what power we give.” When it’s got that charge, it changes that beat and says, “now we get this power.” And you access a set of Feruchemical power. That’s why Compounding is so powerful.
You’re very talented at taking seemingly mundane or unusual things and creating magic systems around them, like color in Warbreaker, metals in Mistborn, and light in The Way of Kings. Can you explain how you decide what to use for a magical system in a book, and your process for building a coherent system once the initial concept has been decided?
First of all, I’m looking for something that fits the book that I’m writing. So for instance, in Mistborn, I was looking for powers that would enhance what thieves could do. I was also looking for something that had one foot in alchemy, in that kind of “coming-of-age magic into science” way. Alchemy is a great example because it’s a blend of science and magic… well, really, a blend of science and superstition, because the magic part doesn’t work. So something resonates there.
I’m also looking for interesting ways to ground [the magic] in our world, and using something mundane is a great way to do that. Magic is naturally fantastical, and so if I can instead use something normal, and then make it fantastical, it immediately creates a sort of… ease of understanding. Burning metals sounds so weird, but it was chosen for that same reason, because we gain a lot of our energy through metabolism. We eat something, we turn the sugars into energy, boom. So that’s actually a very natural feeling. When I started writing out some sample things, it felt surprisingly natural, that people eat metal and gain powers, even though it sounds so weird. It’s because of this kind of natural biology. So I’m looking for that.
Once I have a magic system, I look for really great limitations. Limitations really make a magic system work better. Wheel of Time is a great example. Having a magic system where you can weave all these threads is awesome. Having a magic system where you do that, and then it drives you mad, is even better. It creates plot hooks, it creates drama, it creates challenge. [That limitation] is brilliant, I think it is one of the most brilliant ever made, especially because it also changes your characters. It has a deep influence on your character arcs, so you can tie it into character.
Beyond that (and this is kind of pulling back the curtain a little bit), there is no specific defined place where someone goes mad, so you can actually stretch it out and use it when you need it. It doesn’t constrain you too much. Like if your magic system’s limitation is, “When you use this magic, you have to use the head of one of your grandparents.” (laughs) You can use that magic four times! It’s limited, but also very constrained. Going mad is not as constrained. There’s a spectrum there - you can use it when you need it. So I’m looking for cool limitations that will work that way, in ways that I can use to force the characters to be creative. A good limitation will force you to be creative, and your characters to be creative. Pushing and pulling metals is basically telekinesis, right? But by making it center of mass, you can only pull directly towards yourself or push directly away from yourself... Number one: it’s vector science. It has one foot in sciences. Number two: it feels very natural to us because this is how we manipulate force ourselves. Number three: it limits things so much that it forces creativity upon the characters. There’s that sweet spot, where they can be creative and do cool things, where it doesn’t become too limited, but it also keeps you from having too much power in the hands of the characters, so they are still being challenged. I’m looking for all that, and on top of that I want to have good sensory ways to use magic.
I don’t want to have two wizards staring at each other, and then be like “and they stared at each other very deeply! And then they stared harder!” I don’t want it all to be internal, which is where the lines for the metals came from. You see something, you push it forward. The pulses that some of the allomancers use, they’ll hear. I wanted sensory applications.
Let’s start with an Alloy of Law question, since that’s why we’re both here. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into the evolution of the world of Scadrial, specifically in how you’ve integrated the world’s technological advances. Was there anything in particular that drew you to the old west setting, and did you do anything to research it, like going to a shooting range or a ranch?
Good question. I actually wrote the prologue LAST. I wrote it to be the prologue to another book about Wax and Wayne if I did one. I always knew what happened, but I didn’t want to start the book with the old west, because most of it didn’t happen in the old west, it happened in the city. What is now chapter one used to be the prologue. And after writing the whole book I realized that we didn’t see into Wax’s heart, we didn’t know what he was always referencing with Lessie… we actually needed to see it. And so I actually took that chapter and moved it to the front. I worry a bit that it will old-west-ify it a bit too much, because I did see this as a city book. All of the Mistborn books have taken place in cities.
And will that hold true for the second trilogy, as well?
Yes. It might not hold for the final one in the same way. But as for the research I did... I actually got my gun nut friend. Gun nuts are very particular. He’s a big Wheel of Time fan, and a very big gun nut. I got him to read the book and give me all the “this is how a gun nut says you’re doing it wrong” notes. That’s how I usually do something that specific. I like to write the book, and then go find an expert. For instance, in The Way of Kings, Kaladin’s surgery and first aid things. I wrote the book, I did do some reading on it, but then I sent it to an author that my editor knows. He’s a medical doctor, and I had him read those things and tell me what I was doing wrong. I prefer to do it that way and then fix it, because I can do enough, but there’s a certain understanding curve. I can pick up 75% of what I need to sound authentic with a little bit of research, and that last 25% requires a Ph.D. (laughs) And so rather than getting a Ph.D., I just give it to someone who has a PhD, and they can crosscheck it for me.
In whose voice is the "Ars Arcanum" written? Hoid's?
I've avoided answering that question. It's either Hoid or a member of the Seventeenth Shard. That's as much answer as I'm giving anyone right now.
Was the scruffy-looking "beggar in black" guy at the wedding dinner Hoid?
Is this a prequel to the "modern" trilogy? How far into the future is that? (in-world)
There will be several "Wax and Wayne" books dealing with the next development; they're not so much "prequel" as they are a side venture into life between the first and second trilogies, but they will be used to provide some foreshadowing for the second trilogy. Incidentally, he also described the beginning of the second trilogy as "a Misting SWAT team trying to figure out how to take out a criminal Mistborn." He also said that the third trilogy will be much nearer "hard scifi" as their understanding of Allomancy and Feruchemistry enables them to develop FTL propulsion.