Recent entries

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #8702 Copy

    Questioner

    How do your religious views affect the way you write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, being religious means one of my mandates is, I always want to approach everyone's beliefs with reverence. Nothing bothers me more than seeing the one person who's a theist, who is an idiot, surrounded by everyone else. So, I like to explore these issues, I really like to kind of dig in to all these different perspectives. Being fascinated by it by myself makes me make it an element of my books.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #8703 Copy

    Questioner

    As a writer, I tend to be more character-driven. I love what you've done with the character development of the two of these guys throughout the series. How much of them growing throughout the series, as you work on everything else, it comes together?

    You know, characters I don't plot out as much. It's very easy to write them being cardboard. So, I try to let it be an outgrowth of what they're passionate about. Just kind of letting the passions of the characters drive their reactions in the narrative, and I think you'll never go wrong with that.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #8704 Copy

    Questioner

    How often do your dreams ever influence your books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Once in awhile.

    Questioner

    Once in awhile.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yup. […] writer you have a cool dream […] something there […] Usually there’s not but once in awhile there really is something and it turns around in your head and eventually ends up in the books.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #8705 Copy

    Questioner

    So I just finished The Bands of Mourning, which was my favorite out of that series.  Did you know when you were writing Alloy of Law how you were going to link this to the original, with the kandra, the bands of the Lord Ruler...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah the kandra were seeded, MeLaan you can go and look back in the original three.  Like I’m going to use her in the next series, for sure.  Now what I usually do is when I’m starting a series, and I did this for this one, is I will write the first book in the series.  So I did this with Steelheart, I did this with the original Mistborn, I did this with Alloy of Law.  I write the first book, I sit down, and say “Okay, what worked about that, what can I expand upon” and then I outline the series with those characters and then go back and revise the first one to match and then I release the first one.  Does that make sense? So not everything do I know writing the first one but by the time I’m through the revisions I usually do.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #8706 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So the reasons the fans...*inaudible* ...because I've found-- there's some authors I've read who allowed that to happen, and it seemed like it could compromise the integrity of the book. However, once in a while someone will ask a question, I'm like, "...yeah," right? Like someone asked about-- if Shallan might have some latent bi tendencies, right? And she'd been admiring women throughout the books. I'm like, "Yes, she probably does." Like that's something that was there that I hadn't vocalized, so that happens. And once in a while they ask me questions I'm just stumped on because I hadn't even considered it. In those cases I'll either say that or I'll just say, "RAFO, I need to think about it."

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, yes. Well, you come up with the fundamentals of a magic... *brief interruption* ...then some questions can be easily answered. If you know, okay-- how-- Like with Elantris the fact that they could do it in any medium. They could chisel it. They could do all of these things to get the-- if they want to get it drawn in the air, says that, you know,... *inaudible*. And so if you have the fundamentals and they are consistent, you can extrapolate. And the fans should be able to extrapolate too.

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #8707 Copy

    Questioner

    How many Eternal Masters boxes are you buying?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "How many Eternal Masters boxes am I buying?" That's in Magic: The Gathering... Here's the thing. I have a powered cube, right? So Eternal Masters, I'm like... You know? So I usually play one draft of this, but then... It's fun, but it's-- You know, I've got the cube, right? So anything that we've-- if we want a very complex, weird drafting environment then we just grab that.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #8711 Copy

    Questioner

    So any chance of a horror story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I actually have written one I consider horror. A short story. It was in a horror anthology. We're going to publish it with *inaudible* [anthology]. You'll be able to read it. But--

    Questioner

    Non-cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's non-cosmere, yeah. It's [the most horrifying thing I can] *inaudible* It's not going to read like one until you figure out what's going on. It's not like horror... monster movie horror, you know? 

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I mean it's still [wacky] magic and things like that, but when you realize what's going on. Yeah.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #8712 Copy

    Questioner

    I know the Cosmere has been around for a while. *inaudible* I guess it's a hard thing. Like, how soft...

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it's all still evolving. It will continue. Like, you can't get so locked into an outline--even though I have them--that you don't change it when something better comes up. A big example of this is Adolin, right? Adolin was not *inaudible* character. And yet in the first book I needed *inaudible* I needed a viewpoint of somebody who was not imagining things, right? Somebody who was kind of more normal guy-ish. And he has a huge thing in the book. So now the outline of all ten books has changed because *inaudible*. And so, you've got to be willing to do that, I feel, as a writer.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8714 Copy

    Questioner 1

    So, last time you were here, I know that the Mistborn movie had kinda fell through. Any other nibbles, are we gonna see something?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Any other nibbles? ...So, Mistborn had just fallen through last time. We did resell Mistborn, and I've seen the treatment. So, the steps to getting a film made. Start with them giving me money. *laughter* The important part. Step two is usually a treatment, this is where they take the book and they do, not a full screenplay, but kind of a ten-page summary adaptation of what they're going to cut, what they're going to add, that they will then hand to a screenwriter. Next step would be to give that to the screenwriter that they hire, who they usually have hired, and have them do a screenplay of it. Next step then, generally, is going to people with lots of money and say "Hey, will you fund this?" Conversely, they can go to people who are content-makers, like a director or the talent, so to speak, or a star, and get them attached. So, when one of those happens, it's easier to get the other ones. And then, finally, is a green light. So, you can see, we're right at the beginning again. We had gotten to the screenplay stage last time, but the screenplays were just not that great, and the people who were doing it before were just not very powerful in Hollywood. I love them, they were great guys, but they came to me very early on, and so it was a longshot.

    So, the new treatments are very good. I'm hopeful for what's happening there. For other things, we have The Emperor's Soul, in works with DMG. They worked with Marvel on the Iron Man films. They're a part of the funding company for those. We have just sold Steelheart to Fox. Specifically, to the producer and director of Real Steel (which is a great film, if you haven't seen it) and the Night at the Museum movies. And then, we have one more in the works... Legion. We have a Legion television show in the works.

    So, as far as I know, the Wheel of Time rights have lapsed, and there's a discussion of what to do with those now. Because the people trying to make a film of those were not able to get a film made. They should have been doing a television show all along, I know, but-- Anyway. So there we are, that's how it stands, and the video game is still kinda spinning its heels as well.

    Questioner 1

    So, have they optioned the first trilogy, or just the first book? How does that work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    With Mistborn, they have optioned the entire thing. They basically optioned the whole world. Though, the people who have The Emperor's Soul, it's very fun, because they started to go down the cosmere rabbit hole. Yes, for those who don't know, my epic fantasy books are all connected, and they're all in the same universe. And so, their guy they assigned to it, the studio exec, read the book, and he's like, "Ah, there's some references to other things." And he went and read those, and he went and read those, and now he's read everything. He called me, and he's like, "Uhhhhh...." He's flown out twice to try to get a handle on the whole cosmere thing, what they can put in, what they can't put in. They wanna have a Hoid cameo at the very least, and stuff like that. So that's been very, very fun.

    Questioner 2

    Will you be able to advise on these movies? Do you have any creative control at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do I have creative control, or can I advise? Well, in several of the contracts, mostly the Mistborn and the Emperor's Soul one, I have executive producer roles. In Hollywood, executive producer is the throwaway credit, though. That's one that they pat you on the head, bring out out, let you watch, and then they give you, like, a chair with your name on it you can take home or something, I don't know. They've been very easy to work with so far, so I have confidence that they would allow me, and in both contracts we got the requirement that I can come on-set anytime I want to, not just the one time, which is good. And they've taken my advice on the treatments. I am not powerful enough to get anything more than that. You have to be, like, two levels above me before you can really get any influence in Hollywood. Even, like, Tom Clancy, when he was starting, couldn't. JK Rowling could. And people like that. So, if I can get a good film made, and it takes off, I think all future contracts I'll have more influence, but right now I'm just kind of up to what they will let me.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8715 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This [Perfect State] is a story, a novella that I wrote, oh, maybe three years ago now. It was between two books, at some point, and I didn't have anything to do, but I knew a revision was coming back soon, so I didn't want to start another big project. And so, I sat down and wrote this. And I just finally had time to do a revision on it, so we're going to be releasing it, this spring sometime.

    I think what we're doing is we're putting this and the story that's in Dangerous Women [Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell], if you haven't read that, we're putting together in a little two-pack collection that I'm gonna be taking to conventions and things like that. So, that's how you would read this.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8716 Copy

    Questioner

    Can we expect a book regarding the backstory of Tonk Fah and Denth and all the characters of Warbreaker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, yes, you can expect the sequel to Warbreaker, which will happen, but it's a ways off, to delve a little bit more into at least Denth's backstory. But I can't promise when I'll write that, or an Elantris sequel, sorry guys. The next book I'll write, after Calamity, will be... the next Stormlight book.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8717 Copy

    Questioner

    If you were a Smedry, what would your Talent be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My Smedry talent is breaking things, it's where it came from. I break stuff. My phone is broken. My tablet, I've broken the screen already on this, and I haven't even had it a year, but my assistant went and got it fixed. I drop stuff. I broke my wife's phone.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8718 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you ever read upcoming kid authors?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Will I ever read upcoming kid authors? Yes, I will. I can't promise to get to everybody who wants me to read a book by them, but I will read-- I try to read. So, if you want to send me something, you can. I get to them very infrequently, but if you get published by a publisher, something like that, I'm much more likely to.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8719 Copy

    Questioner

    What would be the Allomantic definition of "metal" as it relates to steel and iron, what shows up? Like, the metalloids, compounds, in ironsight and stuff?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, I don't know what you mean by that. What are the percentages?

    Questioner

    The periodic table.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, the periodic table. On the periodic table, the difference between iron and steel? What do you mean?

    Questioner

    What do iron and steel define as metals? So they would show up with blue lines?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, on the periodic table, what defines as metals? I see what you're staying. So, this is kind of free-form on my part. I have check marks on them on my periodic table, where I kinda just sat and said "Yes, no, yes, no." But things over on the side with cesium and what-not, they would, they would count. Not everything that looks like it should count does. But most everything in that little batch, next to iron and gold and everybody over there, most everybody right there will, and most everybody over on the side will, the stuff that explodes with water. So for instance, ...sodium and stuff like that, if they're in their pure form would, but it's kinda freeform, I just had to make calls. Because there's gotta be a dividing line somewhere.

    Questioner

    So, would ironsight in enhanced Inquisitor form, show up on atoms in compounds...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah, they totally would. That all shows up. Trace metals and things like that, they can see your blood, they can see all sorts of stuff.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8720 Copy

    Questioner

    The short story you wrote for Dangerous Women [Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell], the one that's in the cosmere, is Hoid actually in that story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid does not appear in the Dangerous Women story. I made that choice consciously because I don't want Hoid showing up to be something that always has to be checked off a list. This is a story, it's not a sequence of silly cameos, it's actually a story going on behind the scenes. There was no reason for him to be there, so I didn't put him in.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8721 Copy

    Questioner

    What was your decision not to make The Reckoners series part of the cosmere? Because, without giving away too many things, I can see a Shard affecting that world.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I made the decision based on two things. Number one, the fact that I don't want Earth to be in the cosmere. And so all the books that are referencing Earth, I don't put in the cosmere. Number two, the mythological source I was using as the--I can't give away spoilers--foundation for all of this, is a very "our-world" mythology, not a very "cosmere" mythology.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8723 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you write a sequel first?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, it makes a lot of sense to me. ...I'd written about a quarter of the next Mistborn novel while I was doing revisions for A Memory of Light. I'd send off A Memory of Light, I'd have, like, a month until Harriet got back, so I wrote a little bit of this. It'd come back, I'd stop, I would do the revision, and then I'd go back and have about a month so I'd work on this. The problem is, picking up a book mid-stride, that I had worked on years ago, because then I put it aside and I wrote other things, I wrote Words of Radiance. Coming back to it was really hard. You can imagine that starting mid-stride something that was half-done, might actually be harder than starting something new. When I finished Alloy of Law originally, I plotted a trilogy of books to follow it. Alloy of Law was more freeform; the trilogy, I did my normal build-a-trilogy. So, I had the second book all outlined, I could jump into this a lot easier, there's a break between books two and three, so the characters have reset a little bit, not gone backward, but, you know. Anyway, it was so much easier to go write that book, to get myself back in the world and the mood, then jump back and finish the book before. So that's why you're getting two Mistborn books, rather than one in the next few months.

    Which was really fun, by the way, to send to my editor and my publisher and my agent. None of them knew. I sent them an email, I'm like, "Great! The book's done!" And attached were two books. *laughter* And then I went to bed, because I was doing this at, like, 5:00 AM. So, I went to bed, and I got up to a flurry of emails. "Um, Brandon? Do you know? What'd you just do? Where'd that other book come from?"

    White Sand vol.1 release party ()
    #8724 Copy

    Questioner

    What can you tell about House War?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh, House War--the Kickstarter for the board game. So there's a board game. We're doing this primarily because people kept saying, "When are you gonna do a board game?" The big problem is I play Magic: The Gathering. And if you have friends who play Magic: The Gathering, they don't have time for any other games, right? So my experience with board games is, like, Settlers of Catan, and... that's it. So I have had to-- so what I went to them and said is, "You have to hire a top name designer, that I recognize--because my friends play board games." And so they came back to me with the designer who had made some really great games. And my friends were like, "Yes, this is a good designer." They made a game. It's fun, but I don't know if it's fun for board game people, right? Because I don't play board games. I'm like, "This thing's fun! But it--" so... I'm hoping it will be fun, and you will all enjoy it. There's a Kickstarter now, if you like board games then you can go participate in that. I can't give you direct information on, "Is it-- is it fun for people who play board games?" because I don't play them, right? I play Magic. That's my honest answer to you. And if we do this and the fans are like, "You know what, it just doesn't work if you're not involved," then we won't make anymore. But I thought it was worth trying, because I do have people on my staff who play board games. And you know, the company is good, the designer is good. I have every confidence that the people are going to love it. Except for the confidence that I can give you directly that I played it and thought it would work, because I don't know. It's-- like I said, "It seems fun, sure." Does that make sense? So yeah... We're doing one for Stormlight also that's supposed to be a war game on the Shattered Plains, and so... Because board game people are like-- they email me all the time like, "Where are you board games? Where are your board games? Where are your board games?" I'm like, "Alright, alright." But again, I just have to trust that they're good. So really, if you are into board games and you do play these games, give us feedback. Give me feedback. I have to have your-- you have to tell me whether to keep doing this stuff or not. Just like I-- I have to do this with my foreign translations. I can't read books in German, right? And so I say to my fans, "Tell me how the translations are. I have to know if I have to get a new company or what, because I have no idea."

    Questioner

    Do you have an ETA on that Stormlight game?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Stormlight game is only just started in development. I think it-- I don't know. I mean, they love Kickstarters in board games, and we told them you can't overlap with this one. So I would bet it's a year away, and then there's a Kickstarter for that one.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8729 Copy

    Questioner

    So you mentioned earlier that you couldn't write and code at the same time because it used the same part of your brain. Do you have any advice for coders who may also want to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would just say "separate it". Give yourself a few hours in-between. I don't feel that I personally could code all day, write during my lunch break, code all day, or something like that. But I probably could get up in the morning, do a little bit of writing, then go to work, code all day, something like that or come home, take two hours to play with the family and things like that. You've got to have time for that reservoir, does that make sense, inside of you. I think trying to go right into it might be a mistake. But it's going to be very different based on your own writing styles. Some people it might work for. You might like-- still in the mood. Does that make sense?

    Orem signing ()
    #8730 Copy

    Zas678 (paraphrased)

    Do people in the cosmere, besides Nalthis, have Breaths?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No. To elaborate a little more, that's not to say they don't have a life force, because they do. But if someone not from Nalthis were to suddenly gain the ability to become an Awakener, they could not use what they have to Awaken something. That's not to say that they can't receive Breaths though.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8733 Copy

    Questioner

    How much of your input was put into the Wheel of Time books that you did, or was it strictly of the notes that Robert Jordan had?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How much of the Wheel of Time books was through me, and how much was from the notes? ...When I went to pick up the Wheel of Time materials, I was handed two things. One was a stack of 200 pages. That 200 pages contained about 100 pages of written material that Robert Jordan had written for the last books. And about 100 pages of that was interviews with his assistants, Q&As about what was going to happen. The other thing I was handed was a disk with all of his worldbuilding notes. This did not contain much at all about the last book. This was just the worldbuilding through the whole series, talking about the different cultures and things like that. And I used that to write the books. So the actual writing, I would say, it's very hard to say. I was given full creative control, I will say that. Harriet said "Take this. I'm an editor, not a writer. Do what you feel you need." In all of that, there was one sentence on what to do with Perrin. So, you can guess, if it was Perrin, it was me. There was a whole lot done with Egwene. In fact, almost, I would say, half of her scenes were written, in fact half of that stack was Egwene stuff; of the hundred pages, fifty pages just written about Egwene and a big stack of notes on what to do with her. If it's in the books and it relates to Egwene, you can almost guarantee that that is something Robert Jordan wrote or instructed me to write. With Rand and Mat, it was about half and half. Gathering Storm Mat and A Memory of Light Mat was more me, Towers of Midnight Mat was more him. A lot of his Mat stuff related to the Tower of Ghenjei. Rand was sprinkled all the way through, about half and half, I would say, on that. Most of the words you're reading are mine. Almost everything he wrote was either Egwene or ended up in the three prologues.

    So, yeah, it was a big project. There was not a lot finished on it. But at the same time, those interviews, with him with almost all the characters he kind of talked about who they were, where they were going, what the arcs he envisioned for them being, and things like that, which gave me a lot to do. And even the one thing on Perrin was near the end, so I knew what to shoot for, if that makes sense? And one of the things he did write is what ended up as the epilogue. I had a target, if that makes sense. Although, a lot of the actual writing was on me to do, which is why they had me do it, by the way, rather than getting a ghostwriter. If it had been 90% of the way done, they could have just gotten someone to quietly come in and finish those last few scenes, and it would have been the right thing to do, because it was mostly done by him. The fact that it wasn't, meant they needed a writer to actually put the whole thing together. There wasn't an outline. Robert Jordan was a discovery writer. He knew what he wanted to have happen, but he had no order or form or anything like that.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8734 Copy

    Questioner

    At what point in your career were you able to write full-time, and what led to your decision to incorporate Dragonsteel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question! ...When did I go full-time? I went full-time before it was comfortable to do so. And my recommendation to most writers is the same. What I did is, I quit my job at the hotel the moment I got my first check. It was $5,000. But, I was working for, like $7/hr, so it wasn't like I was giving up a ton. I did keep my university courses, teaching those, as supplementary income, which I didn't quit until the next year, I spent another year teaching my university courses, I only kept on hold of one university class, my creative writing class.

    I incorporated, about two or three years later, at the advice of a tax professional who said "This is a smart idea," incorporating, putting everything under the corporation's name. That way, if someone claims you plagiarized, and you have to go through a big lawsuit, the lawsuit is with the corporation and not you, and it protects you.

    I think those were both very smart decisions. Going full-time before I felt comfortable, and incorporating. Incorporating cost 500 bucks, you just get a lawyer that specializes in this. It is totally worth that, plus deductions are way easier with a corporation. Like, you know, when you're deducting something on your own, they might look askance at some of the deductions you do, whereas when you're a corporation, you're so small-time as a writer that, who cares if they're not getting $3,000 for whatever. But it is fun, I do get to deduct my movies, when I watch movies, all of my video game systems and video games. Deductions! I get money every year from video game companies, and I have to stay up on what they're doing! You can have some fun deductions related to things like that.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8735 Copy

    Questioner

    I reread Elantris, and I was wondering why there wasn't any mention of the Empire from The Emperor's Soul in it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They mention it briefly, they mention countries from there, but they do not have a lot of contact at all. And they kind of view each other in the same way that Europe viewed the Far East, in that "we know there's something over there, but they're nowhere near as cool as we are." Even though the people over there were more populous, in places more advanced and larger than them, they just had no clue. And that's kinda, when I was building it, that's where I went. Like, the JinDo are transplants over, and we have references to MaiPon and we have some things like that, but there's a big mountain range in between, a very large space getting there, the only way you can get through is through some passes near Teod; they don't really even contact over there. Plus, the Empire thinks these people are a bunch of religious nutjobs, so they just stay away.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8737 Copy

    Questioner

    When you started writing, especially Mistborn, did you know you were writing a series, or were you just kinda writing--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Did I know I was writing a series, or was I just kinda writing? I usually know I'm writing a series. I like to outline. The beginning, middle, and end; then what came before, and what came after before I start any project. That is different for some few; for instance, the Alcatraz books were more freeform. I didn't know how long they were going to be until I wrote the first one, but almost everything else I know the length of what I'm shooting for. It's just kind of a quirk in the way that I write.

    Firefight Houston signing ()
    #8738 Copy

    Questioner

    How old were you when you started writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How old was I when I started writing? That's an excellent question. I started writing when I was fifteen. I had not tried writing before that, in fact I had not discovered books until an English teacher handed me my very first fantasy novel when I was fourteen. ...My teacher, Ms. Reader, true story, got me hooked on fantasy.

    FAQFriday 2017 ()
    #8739 Copy

    Questioner

    What, for you, is the "core" to writing compelling fantasy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a really hard question to answer. Do you emphasize the fantasy, or not? A really great story is going to be about awesome characters that you fall in love with. Beyond that, it's going to need a really great plot. You can't separate these things from writing a great fantasy, because I think the worldbuilding needs to be really cool, if you have terrible characters and plot, it doesn't matter how good your worldbuilding is - you're not going to have a good story.

    That said, the core of writing great fantasy as opposed to other fiction, assuming that you're already doing the plot and the character right, is to get down to that idea of the sense of wonder. What is wonderful about this place that would make people want to live there, or be fascinated by it? What's going to draw the imagination?

    Fantasy is writing books that could not take place in our universe. For me, that's the dividing line. In science fiction there's the speculation "This could take place here," "This may be extrapolating science beyond what we know, but it could work." In fantasy we say, "No, this couldn't work in our ruleset, our laws of the universe." That's really focusing on it is what makes the genre tick. So you have to do that well.

    FAQFriday 2017 ()
    #8740 Copy

    Questioner

    What's your secret to inventing new magic systems?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I look for a couple of things in a magic system. The first thing I usually look for is interesting conflicts within the magic system; interesting limitations, interesting flaws in the magic. The question "What can't the magic do?" is more interesting to me than what the magic can do. That's what gives a magic system compelling plot hooks.

    The second thing I'm looking for in a magic system is a different way to approach it. It is very hard to do powers that other writers haven't done before, new magical abilities, but my goal is to try to present them in a light that people haven't seen before. I usually try to apply some sort of scientific principle to the magic, to give it more of a realistic feel when I can manage it.

    Last, I'm looking for something that just feels awesome. In a lot of discussions of magic systems I often neglect to mention that usually my inspiration for a magic system first comes with something that just strikes me as great--as interesting, as fun, as cool to write about. Then I go from there, making it work storywise. 

    I have some essays on my website called Sanderson's Laws of Magic that approach some of the ways that I look at magic systems.

    FAQFriday 2017 ()
    #8741 Copy

    Questioner

    How did you come up with The Stormlight Archive's gem magic/technology?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the things to keep in mind is I that developed this book before Mistborn was published. I do wonder if sometimes people are going to say, "Oh, he did metals before, and now he's doing crystals." But the thoughts arose quite independently in my head. You may know that there is a unifying theory of magic for all of my worlds--a behind-the-scenes rationale. Like a lot of people believe there's unifying theory of physics, I have a unifying theory of magic that I try to work within in order to build my worlds. As an armchair scientist, believing in a unifying theory helps me. I'm always looking for interesting ways that magic can be transferred, and interesting ways that people can become users of magic. I don't want just to fall into expected methodologies. If you look at a lot of fantasy--and this is what I did in Mistborn so it's certainly not bad; or if it is, I'm part of the problem--a lot of magic is just something you're born with. You're born with this special power that is either genetic or placed upon you by fate, or something like that. In my books I want interesting and different ways of doing that. That's why in Warbreaker the magic is simply the ability to accumulate life force from other people, and anyone who does that becomes a practitioner of magic. 

    In The Way of Kings, I was looking for some sort of reservoir. Essentially, I wanted magical batteries, because I wanted to take this series toward developing a magical technology. The first book only hints at this, in some of the art and some of the things that are happening. There's a point where one character's fireplace gets replaced with a magical device that creates heat. And he's kind of sad, thinking something like, "I liked my hearth, but now I can touch this and it creates heat, which is still a good thing." But we're seeing the advent of this age, and therefore I wanted something that would work with a more mystical magic inside of a person and that could also form the basis for a mechanical magic. That was one aspect of it. Another big aspect is that I always like to have a visual representation, something in my magic to show that it's not all just happening abstractly but that you can see happen. I loved the imagery of glowing gemstones. When I wrote Mistborn I used Burning metals--metabolizing metals--because it's a natural process and it's an easy connection to make. Even though it's odd in some ways, it's natural in other ways; metabolizing food is how we all get our energy. The idea of a glowing object, illuminated and full of light, is a natural connection for the mind to make: This is a power source; this is a source of natural energy. And since I was working with the highstorms, I wanted some way that you could trap the energy of the storm and use it. The gemstones were an outgrowth of that.

    FAQFriday 2017 ()
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    Questioner

    What is your most memorable gaming experience/best gaming memory?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably Final Fantasy 10. At that time I was working the graveyard shift at a hotel, and I was doing a lot of writing on my own trying to get published. I would come home every morning at seven a.m. and play for a couple of hours alone in the quiet apartment, thinking about my own stories, experiencing the story of the game.

    Other than that, I would say, honestly, the game that sucked most of my time was probably the original X-Wing game, which really made me feel like I got to be an X-Wing pilot, which, you know—Star Wars geek! That was so much fun! In a lot of ways every space game since then has failed to live up to the sense that I got from that game.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    A full-blown Radiant can heal almost anything (cut from a Shardblade included) because of the way the magic works--their soul is literally bonded to Investiture, and it suffuses them in such a way that even the soul is very resilient to damage.

    Honorblades are what you'd consider a "prototype" for what eventually happened with Shardblades. An Honorblade can be used by anyone, without need for oaths, which makes them very dangerous--but since the bond isn't as deep, they are far less efficient. They use more Stormlight, for example, and can't heal to the extent that a Radiant can.

    So the difference is not in the device that did the damage, but in the method using to heal. Over the course of the first two book, the reader should be able to subtly pick out differences from what Szeth says is possible (in more than just healing) and what Kaladin experiences.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Blightsong

    The whole Radiant/Light motif fits naming their Sprenblades 'Dawnshards'.

    The term 'Shards' in-world have almost exclusively been in the context of Shardblades or Shardplate. I don't see why they would name a fabrial something in a way that breaks the pattern.

    Y'know, if I'm right this wouldn't even really be a spoiler for Brandon to confirm. Maybe the main man u/mistborn could weigh in?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The nature of the Dawnshards will become (slightly) more clear as the series progresses. For now, RAFO.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    falschneun

    Hmmm, I just read this timetable update then went back and read State of the Sanderson 2016. I think there is a decent chance that the novella between The Apocalypse Guard 2 and 3 could be Silverlight. Could we be so lucky, /u/mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's a decent chance. I've also got several on First of the Sun plotted, which are possibilities--and even a Threnody story I want to do. However, there's also a non-cosmere "minority report" style thriller I want to write, and a more thoughtful story about a world where big data predicts all of our choices. So...who knows.

    havoc_mayhem

    Do you have any thoughts on a short story set on Nalthis? It's the only major Shardworld we haven't yet revisited.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't been able to get any shorts on Nalthis to work so far. Maybe eventually.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    DinoDonkeyDoodle

    I really hope /u/mistborn explores the issues a safehand causes like he did women using the One Power in his ending to WoT (ie, it is all arbitrary).

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not exactly arbitrary, but it is completely sexist. See it as you would something like foot-binding on Earth--something that grew, over time, partially to mark/distinguish/hamper women with enough means to be "refined" enough to do something this wildly impractical. There's a reason darkeyed women (and a lot of lower lighteyed women) wear gloves.

    Fantasy Faction interview ()
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    Fantasy Faction

    In The Way of Kings, when Shallan zones out and draws a picture of a dead noble at a dinner table, was she drawing her own father after she killed him with her Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ooh, good question! You will want to read Words of Radiance, where her flashbacks may indeed involve this scene that she drew.