Recent entries

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8801 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Questioner

    So the middle series?  

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Questioner

    On the carriage?

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8802 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8808 Copy

    Chaos

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

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8809 Copy

    Chaos

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8810 Copy

    Chaos

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

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

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8811 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8812 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, he could totally get that back.

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8816 Copy

    ParadoxicalZen

    How exactly is the Moon Scepter linked to the Dor?

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8823 Copy

    Neuxue

    And I have one more question that sort of relates to The Wheel of Time, which I’m reading right now. So Shai in Emperor's Soul has a couple of different personas, right? And some of them have versions of her name. Were she to create a version of herself that is as chaotic and evil as possible, an embodiment of chaos that is capable of reaching throughout the multiverse and--

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Neuxue

    The most powerful character ever apparently.

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8824 Copy

    Neuxue

    Does Roshar have a magnetic field?  

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Neuxue

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Neuxue

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s a good question... You're not going to get an answer on that one. It's a weird planet, let's just say that. It's a pretty weird planet

    Neuxue

    Are the diamonds naturally occurring?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but most are going to be-- They aren't-- all gemstones are naturally occurring, but most of, many or most of, the gems they are getting they are getting from creatures that grow them, not from the rock. Though there are mines on Roshar, you just have to-- most of them are on the leeward side of mountains, where the crem isn't being deposited.

    Neuxue

    So, diamond mines are about tectonics--

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was a created planet, keep that in mind.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8825 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is possible for others as well. The trick about it is, [Ruin] saturated everything on Scadrial in a way that not all Shards saturate their planets.  

    Questioner

    Okay, what do you mean "saturate"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Creating it, does that make sense? And so this was partially an aspect that everything on that planet, every atom was, y'know, had him in it... I mean he didn't create the atoms, let's say that, but yeah... The whole planet existence and particularly the people on it are [Ruin], attuned to [Ruin].

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8827 Copy

    Questioner

    Are the Unmade seeking anything on Roshar?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Unmade, are they seeking anything? Technically yes.  

    Questioner

    And are they attracted to something on Roshar?  

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, yeees.  

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8829 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Back in the day? I actually have to RAFO that because I actually haven't said whether Adonalsium was a force or an individual. So it is an excellent question, no one has asked me that before, but it's not one I can answer.  

    Questioner

    That was a bit of a sneaky one, because it seems like it would be an easy one to answer, but it gives away too much  

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8830 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a story reason, kind of. So the Kholin family is in Alethkar, which was the hereditary-- one of the homes of the Knights Radiant. It's still kind of in the forefront of the-- how shall we say-- the collective unconscious and things like this. Plus there's--

    Questioner

    And then they are on the forefront of that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I mean-- Yeah. And so the spren, some of them are naturally looking for where a lot of Radiants used to be. So it's just a higher concentration of spren around the area, if that makes sense?

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8831 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Questioner

    Because he found he liked it.

    Questioner

    Really? Because he hated it so much.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He did, he actually changed back and just didn't like it, he couldn't adapt. So he went back to what he had found very familiar now.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8833 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    They do.

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, they do have to transition.  

    Questioner

    They have to transition. And does a spren's intelligence affect its ability to transition? So like a more intelligent type of spren finds it more difficult to move over-- 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep-- But the moving over creates a lot of-- Yeah, like some of the ones you'll sometimes see, you'll think that they are--  Some of the spren that aren't intelligent are actually mostly in the Cognitive Realm and you're seeing a manifestation here, but they're not really conscious of what's going on here, they're responding to stuff in the Cognitive Realm.

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8834 Copy

    Questioner

    I make cocktails, and I want to make cocktails based on the characters, have you got any ideas? Particularly Kaladin and Vin, what would they drink?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...Kaladin and Vin, ah boy. Vin wants something simple, I mean she's going to want something to relax, so maybe something fruity and simple. Kaladin, he'll want something stiff, right, something hard...

    The next one actually has a mixed drinks scene. Fortunately, you'll be happy to know, I went to a bartender friend to get some advice on how to make it work, so... If you make Kaladin's stiff and blue, that might be good because of Alethi blue.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8835 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    So spikes rip off pieces of the soul and so Breaths are not going to be part of the soul. You could maybe get a divine Breath but I haven't really decided on regular Breaths, they're kind of stuck there in the Physical Realm which is not a thing that spikes are dealing with. Divine Breath, potentially, because that's something that's actually melding onto your soul. But, you know, when you're using the Breaths they reach through to the Spiritual Realm so, maybe if you got it while the Breaths were kinetic, right, while you're using them, then you might be able to rip them off. I'm not a hundred percent certain on that one.

    Bystander

    There's still things to decide upon.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah there's still things, like I have to kind of see. My instinct says no right now. But, you know, how they interact is not something that I have-- Yeah.

    Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
    #8837 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah the flashbacks cross about 20, 30 years with Dalinar so it is a challenge. But you get to see a lot of sweeping changes in his personality which is really fun.

    Manchester signing ()
    #8841 Copy

    Questioner

    I was reading the first book-- The Way of Kings, there is a scene-- no a Letter. Is that scene-- the person who is sending the Letter says that the Shards in Elantris are broken-- sorry they're, like, [Splintered], and they can’t be used again. How is that so, because if there was Adonalsium which Shattered and people took the Shards.

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Questioner

    You shouldn't put them back--

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are some who believe that.

    Questioner

    So will they be able to put it back together?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well there are some who believe it is possible. *laughter*

    Congratulations, you win a RAFO card!  RAFO is something Robert Jordan would say, that means Read And Find Out and I print out little cards so at least you get something. That means "I'm sorry I can't answer your question but I'm really not that sorry otherwise I would answer it"

    Manchester signing ()
    #8842 Copy

    Questioner

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

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, yes I do. Sometimes, sometimes not. As I said, usually the seed that starts a character for me as I grow them is a conflict. For Kaladin it's the conflict between being trained as a surgeon and finding out you are really good at killing people, and how do you deal with that. For some it can be very simple, for Sarene I had a friend who is a woman that is 6 foot 2, or whatever she is, *to the side* How tall is Annie? She's tall. Anway, Annie's tall, and she always complains about how tough it is to be a tall woman. Which is something I never thought of, I'm like "I'm going to use that. I'm going to make use of that in a story," Of course that isn't her whole personality, but that little seed, you drop down and I grow a personality around it as I try someone out... That person I knew, a piece of her turned into a character. For other things, it's just trying and trying and trying untill something works, as I explained before. It is "What has their life done to them", often times it's "What are the passionate about? What do they want? Why can't they have what they want?" Those sorts of things lead me into creating a character

    Manchester signing ()
    #8843 Copy

    Questioner

    So in Words of Radiance you've got a character called Wit, who has a conversation with Kaladin in which he uses the phrase "bunny rabbit" which obviously doesn't exist in the language that Kaladin speaks. So my question is where and when did the language that he used come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So Hoid, or Wit, is actually try-- using magical means to communicate and so when he says a word it just transliterates it or just doesn't translate it into anything in that language. So you'll notice him slipping up on a number of occasions-- he is the only one who uses certain words in the course of-- That's not the only one in The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, because he's just speaking normally and allowing his other means to translate for him. And that's a sign, a symbol, of that happening.

    Manchester signing ()
    #8844 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So what you've got there is the beginnings of me exploring an idea I had many years ago, about a world where bacteria and viruses would grant magical abilities in order to keep you alive long enough to spread the disease. It's this basic survival instinct, if they were somehow able to grant this. So you catch the common cold and you can fly, until you get over it and you can't anymore. I thought "Wow, you would need some super CDC soldiers--right? Center for Disease Control--to keep this from getting out of control."  his is kind of a cross between counter-terrorism and the CDC, in a fantasy world where when you catch a disease you get a magic power. Pretty weird.

    Manchester signing ()
    #8845 Copy

    Questioner

    Basically Bridge Four, the starting sequence was one of the most intense things I have ever read in my life. I was in tears, I couldn't stop it, to the point I kept flipping through to the next Bridge Four part. I was just wondering where you got the inspiration to go so dark with Kaladin and what he went through.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question. Bridge Four in the original Dragonsteel was a happy accident, back then I wasn't as good at outlining as I am now. I kind of got to this place and went "Huh, I want to do something interesting here" and I kind of discovery wrote myself into it. It didn't work nearly as well as it did in Way of Kings, but that's because I was still figuring it out. I think the original inspiration was-- Something that I like to do with Fantasy is take the geography and see how the unique geography of the area influences the culture of the people who are living there, in this case the warfare, a subset of the culture interaction. This happens with the weather on Roshar as well. I think this is something Fantasy allows us to do, to explore what is fantastical, yet keep it very grounded in the human experience because I find books interesting when I'm interested in the characters. Having this cool place, the Shattered Plains, is not nearly as awesome as having this cool place and "oh no the people I like are dying here". This idea was one of the ideas, I think the inspiration was medieval siege warfare and just how awful that sounds to me. Having to be one of these people running a ladder to climb up the wall. Just "Okay, here's your ladder, good luck". This idea of just having to run into the face of something terrible, to know you are probably going to lose your own life or your friends are going to lose theirs was just so awful to consider. And when that happens, as a writer you are like "Oh I got something. That sounds awful, I'm going to write about it" That's just what we do. Anything that inspires powerful and profound emotion in myself is something I look to use in my books because I figure if it inspires profound emotion in myself it will work on the page to do the same thing with my characters.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8846 Copy

    Chaos

    I really want to know what the last two metals are. I always thought the bead Elend ate was one of them, but perhaps they are just things of Preservation, not meant to be understood

    Brandon Sanderson

    The metal chunk that Elend ate is intended to be something of a mystery. Much like atium, actually. Suffice it to say that atium isn't, and never was, what people thought it was.

    I intended Allomancy to be much like a real science. People investigate and put things into boxes, trying to describe and understand the world around them. That doesn't mean they always get things right, however.

    Let me say this, as I don't want to spoil too much. If that metal Elend ate were fused into specific alloys with certain metals, it could have instead created Mistings of each of the different Allomantic powers. Atium's abilities are not entirely explored yet either.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8847 Copy

    Kaimipono

    Also, are koloss just naturally bad-tempered, even without Ruin's influence? Cause the koloss are still taking swipes at Sazed immediately after the merger. (And, does Sazed zap all the koloss? Did they all get toasted by the sun? But what about Human and his friends underground? Are there still koloss around? Just wonderin'.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Koloss were bad tempered before Ruin's influence, though he certainly made them worse. They were designed by the Lord Ruler to be aggressive, so aggressive that they would destroy themselves if they got loose and away from him. (This was intentional. Note that he didn't give the spark of humanity in them enough credit, and they managed to overcome this and 'evolve' in a way to keep their species going, even after he died.)

    There ARE still koloss around, though many of them were vaporized. Human is alive. Sazed took pity on them, however, and they have been transformed. They are now a race that breeds true, like the kandra, and have different thought processes from what they once had. You'll see more of them in the sequel series.

    Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
    #8848 Copy

    Agate

    I can guess two possible options for the kandra.

    1. God Sazed endowed the gift of presence on the now mistwraiths.

    2. Some of the kandra survived in the cave with the Terrisman and people of the city, along with the small mistwraiths, these are re-born with the spikes they pulled out during the resolution.

    I can imagine too that some kandra on assignment may have hidden in the shelters with the rest of humanity.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The kandra.

    Yes, they live. The people were smart enough, eventually, to replace their spikes. (And there were a couple who were on assignment who made it to storage caches.)

    However, there will likely never be any more of them, since Hemalurgy is required to make them. They are now some of the few people who can communicate directly with Sazed, who—like Ruin—can whisper to people most easily when they are connected to him via spikes. With some speculation, you can probably guess what kind of roles the kandra will end up playing in future books.

    Kaimipono

    On a broader level, is Hemalurgy officially dead, then? Or is it still extant in some Ruin-free (but still messy) form? (If it's gone, is there any imbalance since Preservation's magic power is kept and Ruin's isn't?)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is Hemalurgy dead? No, not at all. It, like the other two powers, was not created by Ruin or Preservation, but by the natural state of the world and its interaction with the gods who created it. It still requires the same method of creation, but very few people are aware of how it works.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
    #8849 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you become a beta reader?

    Brandon Sanderson

    People always want to know this! We have beta and gamma readers. Alpha reads are only my agent and my writing group. Beta readers are people from fandom who have proven that they know their stuff and are a part of the community. Peter picks these from people who are on my Facebook, who are interacting with him there, or who are on the 17th Shard. There's no promises you can get in on this. We do change it every book and get some new people, because sometimes we just want people to give fresh eyes on something.

    Gamma reads, if you want to read things early, are bug hunters. They can spot a type form a hundred paces. If you are really good at finding typos, you can go to the thread on the 17th Shard, for every book there is a thread, a forum thread that talks about typos. And if you are consistently finding typos no one else has found, chances are good Peter will be like, "Hey, do you want to proofread for us?"

    But don't feel like you have to do this because it actually diminishes the book a little bit, even though you get to do something cool, because it's not in its final form yet. I don't like beta reading when I don't have to, I'd prefer reading something with polish.

    Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
    #8850 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you keep everything straight in your head?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, it's kinda weird. I forget my keys. I forget what day it is, I'm one of these types, right. But stories, I don't forget. Stories are in there. Part of the help for this, though is I do use a wiki, called wikidpad, it's, like, a personal wiki thing. And I stuffed a whole bunch of it in there, not all of it, but a whole bunch of it. I actually have someone whose job it is to go through each book, add in all the new details and things like this to keep kind of a personal encyclopedia of the Cosmere, for myself, for reference that I can be working with as I'm building things.

    So, yeah, it's a mixture of tools, my own personal weird brain psychology, and good help and forum assistance. Like, if you read one of my early drafts, there's, like, so many continuity errors. So many, right? Because there's just stuff I... like, when you're writing, you're not thinking about. And your fingers, they just type it. Or, like, I forget, like... one of the things I have to do for a Stormlight is I have to go through and add in way more spren. Because it's just so unnatural to us to have emotionspren, that first draft, I don't even worry about them. Like, get down what's happening, and then I will highlight where the spren appear. It's almost like I do post-production on my books. But, even still, to this day, I write silver when I mean tin in Mistborn, because for years it was silver was that power. Like, it's been ten years since it was silver, that I changed it to tin, but even still my fingers type silver. And the alpha readers and beta readers are like, "Oh, there's a silver in here! We found one!" Like for years, Clubs, I think it was Clubs, and... I had two of the powers swapped for the... anyway, so there's all that. And then there's all the stuff that I forget I changed in revision in previous books.

    So, it's not like I'm photographic memory who keeps all this. I have a good team, a good process, and enough up here that we can make a good book come together. But those early books... don't become an alpha or beta reader for me unless you're willing to be like, "Okay. Canon is not here." Like, in the Lift chapter, there was even a place where I'm like, "I think this is connected. I wanna connect this to something in the Cosmere, but I can't remember what it is. Karen, can you look up some of this and see, so I can make sure that I can..." I think it's in there. And then in the beta read document, everyone's like, "Oh, you can do this! You can do this! You can do this!"

    Questioner

    No that wasn't in Lift!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it is! I just went and looked at it. Maybe Karen posted that quote that I gave her, maybe Peter pulled it out, and she posted it in the document later on.