Recent entries

    Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
    #9001 Copy

    Questioner

    You continue a proud tradition of fantasy writers being very concerned about food. How do you approach that? How do you create that sense of realism and a multisensual experience.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I had a professor in college at BYU who was a folklorist, specializing in food-lore. She was very helpful in this. One of the reasons I think that a lot of the professionals, though I certain do not do George R.R. Martin levels of it, is kinda, food-lore is actually really important in our societies. But it's one of the ones we forget very easily, when developing a fantasy world. It's part of what makes fantasy worlds, when you don't use some of these things. Not saying every book has to. But it's one of them that's kind of on the small list of "these things make it feel actually real," rather than "imitation-real." Because we have so much of this food-lore. And food is so much involved, I mean, everyone has to eat every day multiple times. So we're gonna have all this lore and things. And if you skip all that, it starts to feel like the cardboard cutout, a fake city built for a movie set or something like that, instead of a real lived-in world. And, I happen to like food. Probably something that George and I share. So, you end up with food stuff in the books.

    Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
    #9002 Copy

    Questioner

    So, as a writer of so many books of epic fantasy, what is your crazy sleep schedule like? And how do you manage your life?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, my crazy schedule is not as "crazy" as you think, just a little crazy. I go to bed at 4:00, and I get up at noon. I did not become a writer so that I could keep the job that a working stiff would have. My writing schedule is generally, I do one big block from about noon until 5:00. I hang out with my kids and my wife from about 5:00 until 10:00. And then from about 10:00 until 2:00 or 3:00, I do another writing block, and then I take an hour or two off and play video games or something like that. *laughter and cheers* The secret to my productivity is not much of a secret. It is that I work every day, I just get get up and I write. And I don't always publish what I write. Some of what I write doesn't work. But I like writing, I like telling stories. The creative process is really, really engaging to me, it's what I like doing, so I do it every day. And I'm not a really fast writer, I'm just really consistent at my writing.

    Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
    #9003 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible* my friend gave me Way of Kings. *inaudible* I tried. I tried really, really, really hard to read it. *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    So here is the thing, don't feel embarrassed by this, because The Way of Kings is never the book I give people first. The Way of Kings is a book for people who already trust me. Because it takes to about Chapter 11 before the book works. And, you get payoff for that, but I never give it to people first. I either pick Mistborn: The Final Empire *cheers* and that is what I would recommend to you, because it is a self-contained story, it is going a little bit faster, it has a lot of things I do very well, but it also doesn't demand as much of you up front. Once you've read the Mistborn trilogy and you trust me, I think if you come back to Way of Kings later, it will work for you, but you've gotta trust me first. So try Mistborn. The other options would be The Rithmatist, which is also going to have a little more of a streamlined plot than Way of Kings.

    Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
    #9004 Copy

    Questioner

    When is Rithmatist 2 coming out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rithmatist 2 is the number one requested book that people ask of me. I know more people are waiting for Stormlight 3, but they can see the progress bars and things like that, so they know it's coming. Rithmatist 2, I might write between Stormlight 3 and 4. I tried to write it, and since they were going to South America, and I had not done my research, I was not able to accurately represent an alternate Earth version of the cultures, like the Nahuatl, the Mexica people, so I stopped to stop and read, like, ten books on that, which prevented me from writing the book at that point. Now that I've done the research, I can, I feel, write the book, and do justice to it, but I have to now find a timeslot in my schedule, because the slot that was in my schedule I spent doing research. You wouldn't have wanted the book that would have come out if I hadn't done that research. You know all this buzz about Harry Potter and Native Americans? Mine would have been ten times worse, just because you write from a position of ignorance, so I was starting, and I was like, "No, I can't do this." So now, I think I can do it, and I think it will be good, but now I have to find the time. I'm sorry.

    Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
    #9005 Copy

    Questioner

    When you finished writing A Memory of Light you posted on Facebook a beautiful piece of music *inaudible* and I was wondering, do you listen to music often when you write, and how does music influence--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do listen to music. I almost always am listening to music when I write, and I really like things like Pandora or the discover weekly playlist on Spotify, or things like this. Any time I can get something seeded with some unusual different disparate elements and discover some new music, that'll be good for me. A lot of soundtracks, Pink Floyd, a lot of Pink Floyd, <Tangerine Dream?>, stuff like electronica, like that works really well for me. What else, Daft Punk would be in that group as well. So, it's a mix between piano music, electronica and soundtracks, what you're going to see me writing to most of the time.

    Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
    #9006 Copy

    Questioner

    You're also famous for your magic systems, do you start with the effect you want to achieve or the mechanic you want to use?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on each magic system, they're all different. Sometimes there's just a really interesting-- Mistborn's a good example of this. I built Mistborn because I wanted a different power for each thieving crew member and I had in the back of my mind a few cool powers to use, but others I just developed. I'd be like, alright, we need something for the fast-talker. So therefore you get the thieving-crew and the classic thieving-crew elements, and I wanted something to improve every one of them. So while I had the Pushing and Pulling already, because that was really interesting and I'd been working it out in my head, I didn't have all these powers set out for the team, so I developed those.

    In other cases it's just, you know The Stormlight Archive started with the fundamental forces in physics and extrapolating outwards from them until I had ten fundamental forces because I wanted to do fantastical fundamental forces. So that one started in physics.

    The magic for Warbreaker started because my editor called me, true story, and said "ah, after Mistborn and Elantris you've done some very dreary settings, very nice but very dreary, let's do something with more color in it". More color it is!

    Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
    #9007 Copy

    Questioner

    What is your favorite book that you've written?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My favorite book that I've written? I can't pick a favorite. It's like trying to pick a favorite child. 

    Questioner

    You always have a favorite child though...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah *laughter*, no favorite children, I just skyped with my children and they showed me their Halloween costumes, it's the cutest thing ever, but the littlest one, he's two, he's a Minion and he's so cute as a Minion, because he can barely talk as it is... and then the middle one is a skeleton and he just said "it's so scary dad, it's so scary, you're going to be so scared" and then he puts it on and I have to pretend to be scared. He scares himself looking at the mirror. And the seven year old's in karate now so he bought a ninja outfit and he thinks he's a real ninja because he's learning karate.

    Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
    #9008 Copy

    Questioner

    You say that there's part of you in every character, but what of you is in Vin as a character?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What of me is in Vin? The inherent belief that people are good. And Vin does believe in that. She believes that deep down, that people are good, she just doesn't believe that she belongs with them. Does that make sense?

    Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
    #9009 Copy

    Questioner

    Books were published in sort of different territories and different countries, obviously there's always different covers for different regions. So America has like a certain style of cover which is very different from what we have over here. How much input do you have into, sort of, the artist, who is chosen and do you have a favorite sort of style of cover for your books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Very good question. So, I don't necessarily have a--how should I say--I get to have a lot to say these days over cover artists. I could ask for a cover artist, if they're available, they'll get them for me, and things like that. Not in my early career, but now. The trick is, in the UK, we use the same cover artist for everything and this is the big difference between the UK market and the US market. The US publisher likes to change with each series to a new cover artist, to say "look, it's a new series". For the UK, they distinguish a new series by the color scheme, so you'll notice all the Mistborn books have a blue swirl, whereas all of the Way of Kings have a red, or orange-ish tinge to them and, you know, Elantris has the green and things like that. That's how they do that. They like that all of your books look the same on the shelf.

    UK also likes--how can I put it--classier covers *laughter* and that leads to, in some ways, some covers that I think are fantastic and some that are just a little generic, because they try to go kind of classy, if that makes sense, and so you just end up with not much on the cover. The US covers vary a lot more. I've had my worst covers of, you know, among US covers, and I've had my best covers because the US likes to do this painting of some sort of scene represented, almost more of a movie poster for the book, so some of those get really cringe-worthy. They just get--Like my middle-grade series, the Alcatraz books, oh those covers in the US were dreadful. In the UK they were very stylish and with like some iconic picture on them, but in the US they were, oh, so bad. But The Way of Kings, the painting, the US painting's one of my favorite covers I've ever had and I actually went and bought that painting itself, but I have a soft spot for Michael Whelan, he's the artist of that. 

    Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
    #9010 Copy

    Questioner

    How much of your own personality do you put into your characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question. I put a piece of me in every character. There's some aspect of me in every one of them and there is something very different from me in every one of them, because that's kind of how I explore the world, I write about characters that have something familiar but something very different for me, and every character I write I try to the bulk of those things into. 

    Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
    #9011 Copy

    Questioner

    What is the status of the White Sand graphic novel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    White Sand graphic novel. Let me run down the big list of things people are waiting for. So, White Sand graphic novel is on the good list, that's going really well. The author we had adapt it was fantastic and the artist is doing a great job. We're doing it in eighteen issues. However, because the people with The Wheel of Time (I don't know if any of you guys bought those graphic novels) but they released those individually, people bought subscriptions up front and then it took them forever to deliver on those. Because I have been burnt by that I said "You can't release any of the issues until you have a certain amount done". So because of that, they just decided they would release them only as graphic novels. So they're doing six-issue chunks. So it's kind of weird, there's eighteen issues, but really it's three books of six issues, and they are working on issue number six right now to release the first chunk next year. And we're very pleased with it.

    So, the big list. I am working on Stormlight 3 right now, so you can follow on the progress bars. Once I'm done touring, which I've been doing for way too long, you'll start to see those inch up again, and if I finish it by May or June then it can come out next year. If I don't finish it by then it would be the following Spring. So that's what I'm working on right now.

    In the queue we have the sequel to Shadows of Self coming out in January and we have the last of The Reckoners, and that is coming out in February. That's a little too close, I wish they hadn't scheduled them like that, but I'm not in charge when they put the books. 

    After I write Stormlight 3 my goal is to write a new book that's kind of in the teen-ish-- it's kind of hard because Steelheart here is not published by a teen publisher, the only one published by a teen publisher here is Rithmatist. But something for the Steelheart-- like older teen/young adult-ish, crazy, wacky things like that; I've signed a contract on that. So that'll be my next project. 

    Then I'm going to do Rithmatist 2, then I'm going to do Wax and Wayne 4, which is the last of that sequence. Then I'm going to do Stormlight 4.

    If the book you're waiting for is not in that list then it's going to come after Stormlight 4 so don't hold your breath.

    Mistborn videogame is basically vaporware at this point I'm afraid. I love the guys that are making it. They're still working on it, they still plan to release it. I haven't seen even a demo or early footage or anything like that, so I'm not certain they'll be able to do anything and you guys should not hold your breath on that.

    So, movies, I've sold Mistborn, The Emperor's Soul and Steelheart, all are in production, but that doesn't mean anything in Hollywood, in production can mean anything. None of them have started filming yet. Until something starts filming you should assume that it's a hopeful dream. Those are the hopeful dreams that people are paying me a lot of money for. So, there you are.

    Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
    #9012 Copy

    Questioner

    In the second Stormlight Archive book... Wit... the Shattered Plains party, where he's introducing all the guests, and just the sheer list of insults. Was that an easy thing to do, and you've got books and books of--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Man it is so hard to come up with good insults because it's so hard to use one that Winston Churchill hasn't used already. *laughter* But I try to channel the best insult comics and people like that. Being witty in writing is actually the hardest part, but the fortunate thing is that I can take two hours to come up with a line that he's supposed to snap off in a few minutes or a few seconds, and that's how we can imitate being smarter than we are. I totally have to do that in my books.

    It's interesting, I got an insight into really smart people. I was roommates with a person who won a ton of money on Jeopardy. Ken Jennings for any of you guys that watch Jeopardy. He won like 80 times in a row, right? I'm serious. He won 80 times in a row, or something like 78-- and before he did that, he was my roommate, and I knew him, and he-- the big difference between him and other people is that speed, that speed of making the connection and snapping it off. You say something and he comes with a comeback, just like that, and then you think  about it and you're like "oh, that was really clever". That's what a lot of these people are, it's not the only type of intelligence by far, but it's one of the ones that this sort of discussion with Wit-- it's what we look for. So it's kind of a marker for somebody that's a little bit too smart for their own good.

    Manchester signing ()
    #9013 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you ever find it difficult writing for two kinds who read your books, the kind that only want to read it and have a lot of fun and take nothing away from it, and the people who obsess over every sentence for hidden cosmere-ic meaning?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, right, right. For those of you who don't know, though I'm not sure there are many who don't know still, all of my epic fantasies are in the same universe and there are characters in each book who are interfering with each other's stories. There are characters from Mistborn in Way of Kings, and there are characters from Elantris in Mistborn.

    This was done, for a little bit of backstory, I love big epic fantasy works, if you can't tell Wheel of Time is one of my favorites ever, I like the big things. Breaking in I felt that it was a lot to ask new readers to take a chance on me as a writer by saying "it's book one of 25" I felt it was better to say "here is a standalone novel, self-contained that you can enjoy reading and kind of figure out who I am as a writer." That's kind of my purpose for Elantris and Warbreaker, and lately Emperor's Soul. "Here's how to try out my writing style to see if you like it." But loving these epics I couldn't help connecting them and hiding an epic behind the scenes. This was partially inspired by Asimov, who later in life joined his two main series, the Robot books and the Foundation books in what I felt was a clever way. But it had some problems in that he had to juryrig it after the fact. He'd been writing these books for decades and then he brought them together and I thought "wouldn't it be cool if someone were to take that idea and start it from the get go." It's this whole shoulders of giants thing, people try something out and you go "that was awesome, can I improve upon it?" or "whoah I'm not ever going to try that because that had certain issues" Book 10, the Wheel of Time fans know--

    Robert Jordan actually talked about that book about how he wish he hadn't written it the way he did.  I have the advantage of having read Robert Jordan, so I can see how that book went wrong and I can avoid making that pitfall. I went ahead and did this hidden epic because I thought it was really interesting, I did not expect it to come to the forefront as much as it has. Which is awesome, people started peeking these things out. Secrets that I embedded in Elantris, That I didn't expect to come out for another ten fifteen books people are already asking me about. Which means I kind of need to step up my game to make sure that all this stuff is very subtle. The whole idea is that you don't have to have read Elantris to read Mistborn, you don't have to have read Mistborn to read Way of Kings, they are all easter eggs right now. Eventually I will write a series that ties them all together in a direct way, that's many years off, and I will be very upfront with "You have to read all the others, you will be very lost if you aren't familiar, at least go read the summaries of the books before you start this one." We are far away from that.

    Manchester signing ()
    #9014 Copy

    Questioner

    Your magic systems, they're genius.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh thank you very much.

    Questioner

    There's a certain subtlety to them that doesn't overtake the story which in some books could easily happen. How early on in your process do the magic systems have to be looked at an really put into place?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Every book is different. For some books the idea is a plot idea that starts me and for some books it is a setting idea--and magic systems are setting ideas in my head--and some its a character idea. With a character idea its usually a conflict, "that's an interesting conflict, what can I do with that" With magic systems it's usually "this will allow me, as a writer-- it will force me to stretch. It will have interesting limitations, it will do interesting things visually on the page, it will change the world in a very subtle yet important way that then I can explore" If we change one little piece of physics what does it do to the world, this sort of thing. I'm usually getting a lot of my ideas from reading science articles and things like this. Stormlight Archive is based off the fundamental forces, Mistborn is based off of vector physics and metabolism and things like this. These ideas-- I like having one foot in science and one foot in superstition for these magic systems. I usually don't start a book until I've fleshed out the magic system pretty well. That said when I was doing Stormlight Archive, the version that you have read I didn't have the terminology and how it was going to feel for the lashings until I wrote Szeth's opening scene, and that was where I really nailed down how this would look on the page and how it would feel. Sometimes you just need to write, you can't just plan endlessly and not write anything. But most of the time I have that nailed down. If people are interested in this you can look up my essays on writing magic systems, I think they are fun, but I humbly titled them Sanderson's first law, second law, and third law. So I think highly of them. You might find them interesting. They talk about my philosophy on writing and on magic systems.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9025 Copy

    Questioner

    I know that Silence was written as a short story. It was one of my favorite stories. She's amazing. And I love the world. And I know that you told me it was *inaudible*, but...

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a book on Threnody scheduled for the cosmere, for me to do. The book, right now as I have it, is a fleet trying to sail back and reclaim the Homeland from the Evil... So, that's the plan right now. We'll see if it changes over time.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9026 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you fool your writer's block?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I write a bad chapter. Usually, writer's block, what's stopping me is I that know the chapter's not gonna work, or something's wrong. I write it anyway. And then I think about it for a few days, and then rewrite it over. It works almost every time. Once in a while, it's a bigger problem that's stopping me. And those cases, often it takes, like, a big extensive rewrite to get the book going in a different direction. But nine times out of ten, I'm just having a funk on one chapter; changing the perspective or writing it poorly in a sitting and letting myself think about it works very well.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9027 Copy

    Questioner

    What was the best Steel Inquisitor cosplay that you've seen?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably, there was one I saw in Boston, where they had gone all out and done the spikes, with the reflective sunglasses on them. They actually looked down a spike at these sunglass things, and that looked really sharp.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9031 Copy

    Questioner

    How many sharpies do you go through in one of these things?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, it's not as many as you think. It's maybe three. I go through them really fast when I have big stacks to sign, for the publisher or something. But a sharpie is good for about 200, 300 signatures for me. And a line like this is maybe 500 people, each with maybe three books.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9032 Copy

    Questioner

    So, you know the White Sand graphic novel you made? Did you only sign, like, 250 of those? How many did you sign of those?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not sure how many. I sign them when people bring them by, but I'm don't know how many numbers there were.

    Questioner

    No, when you first printed it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, the numbered edition. I'm not sure. There aren't that many.

    Questioner

    I'm like, 199.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, there's 200 or something like that.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9035 Copy

    Questioner

    What would be your dream cast for a Steelheart movie.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not sure if I would have a dream cast. They are who they are in my head. Mostly, I want to be there in the casting meetings, if it's someone I can be "Yeah! It can be them!" then we'll go with that. I don't really have a dream cast.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9036 Copy

    Questioner

    You're writing so many stories at once with so many different characters. Does it ever get confusing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Once in a while. But the way my brain chemistry works, it's good for me to be always thinking about something new and jumping around a little bit, it helps me a ton. Different writers are very different. They don't want to do that at all, and it's just fine. There's no one right way to do it. I don't usually have trouble. It's the excitement of keeping track of it all that's fun for me.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9038 Copy

    Questioner

    Any advice you would give to a second grader learning to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For second graders? Until about high school, my recommendation is just to encourage them to write whatever they feel like writing. Not imposing too much structure, it's just about momentum. Just "Go go go" will be my recommendation.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9042 Copy

    Questioner

    What inspired you to start writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was the books I was reading. I wanted to learn to do what they had done. Anne McCaffrey was a big part of it. But I was reading it, I was like, these books have had such a profound effect on me, I want to learn to do that for other people.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9044 Copy

    Questioner

    I have been telling people you're my favorite writer for two reasons: ...your quality of writing is fantastic, and your quantity is high. That's very rare to get both of them in the same author.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, it's this weird thing where I have found that the more I keep up my momentum, the better I write. The worst things I write are the things where I take a long break in between. And it's sort of this thing like, if you stop playing baseball or a while, you're gonna start missing the ball. And I found, just for me, that if I do stuff that keeps me going, so I use a lot of these novellas and things to make sure I'm keeping momentum. And it's hard sometimes, because books take a lot of revision, and you can't just write them and send them out. So you have to do, like, six or seven drafts sometimes. Just keep that momentum.

    Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
    #9046 Copy

    Questioner

    How can I get on the waiting list for the leatherbound of The Way of Kings. Because, I know, when it comes out...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think we're gonna be doing the waiting list for leatherbound Way of Kings.

    Questioner

    So I'll just have to keep up on it? Keep looking at the website?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. We'll try to make sure that we get enough of them, maybe order a few extra of that one.