Recent entries

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9452 Copy

    Questioner

    In Words of Radiance, a character named Iyatil... Is she a member of the race that we see in The Bands of Mourning in the--

    Brandon Sanderson

    She is related to them in the same way that I am Danish.

    Questioner

    Okay, so not.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I am, my heritage is Danish.

    Questioner

    Okay, so a branch of...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mmhmm.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9453 Copy

    Questioner

    You've said that Shardblades can be made in other magic systems. So if it's not like a Shardblade from Roshar, what makes it a Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The "Shard" refers to the heavy Investiture of a Shard of Adonalsium. Most of what you’ll see will see are the Roshar ones, but it is technically possible to make them out of the other magic systems. It's going to be a heavily invested magical weapon, is kind of how I would define it.

    Questioner

    So are the Bands [of Mourning] one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would not call them one, but they are close. They're not Invested enough.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9454 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you share any abilities that Hoid has accrued so far in the books, does he-- with him taking the bead, I can't even pronounce the L-word...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, lerasium, he is indeed an Allomancer. So. That has happened. I haven't confirmed much else, but he does have that.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9456 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm really confused about how you, as a male with three sons, how you create <believable?> female characters.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Practice. Number one, practice. Number two, talk to women. So, write... you're a teenager, it can be hard, but write a scene, give it to women, say "What am I doing wrong?" And then see, it's even better, back up a little bit, start thinking of characters as their passions, and their life experience, not just by their role in the story. That's a big a problem that a lot of people run into, it's that they go "oh, this is the romantic interest", and so you make them the romantic interests, and so you don't give them a full spectrum of emotions and characterization like you do to the protagonist. And so, try those things. Have you listened to my podcast?

    Questioner

    No.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay. Podcast. Start in January '15, but also look for podcast about "Writing the other", we have people come on and talk about this sort of thing. Alright? You can just push Play on a browser, you don't have to do a podcast thingy.

    Footnote: Brandon likely refers to S7E40: Writing the Other (http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/09/11/writing-excuses-6-15-writing-other-cultures/), of his podcast Writing Excuses.
    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9457 Copy

    Questioner

    I've noticed that there are a lot of different categories of Epics. Did you think about any categories that you didn't put into the books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Did I think about any categories of Epics that I didn't put into the books? Yes, I did. You know, as a comic book nerd I have lots of categories of superheroes that, as I saw them in my head, and this is kind of like my-- reaching back to my teenage years, looking at "Oh, these kind of share a similar power type" and things like that. That's what you are getting from these books, kind of my nerdy stuff. There are categories that I didn't deal with. I tried to theme a lot of powers either toward matter transformation, matter manipulation, or alternate universe stuff. Just that kind of has some things. And so, I am actually doing a series, takes place in the same universe, different characters, that takes place-- all of the powers and that will be alternate dimension things, it's gonna be really cool.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9459 Copy

    Questioner

    How is a new Feruchemist made?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What do you mean?

    Questioner

    Well you can make a new Mistborn by lerasium--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, okay.  Other than through birth? That’s a RAFO, good question though.  Right now, as far as anyone knows, it’s by birth only.  But--  Well we’ll leave it there.  You know that the extra Preservation instead of Ruin had some effects on people on Scadrial.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9460 Copy

    Questioner

    Are you planning to write any trans characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Am I planning to write any trans characters? I am, but it's a very... like, I need to have some people who can read who are themselves trans, and can talk me through it. I kind of dabbled in it with, like, MeLaan, but that's not a true trans character. So, I'm kinda trying to dabble my toes in it. But I really will need some good readers who can tell me, because it's one of those things that'd be so easy to get wrong.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9461 Copy

    Questioner

    How did you think of the idea for some who could, like, pull alternate realities through?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was looking for a different type of illusionist, because in the Stormlight Archive I did illusionists straight-up. So I wanted to do somebody who did something similar, but had a different origin for those powers.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9462 Copy

    Questioner

    Who is the Lord Ruler’s child/children?

    Brandon Sanderson

    People are searching a little too hard for this, he had several, they mixed with the population.  There might be specific individuals who claim heirship and things like that but it’s not like there’s one hidden person among the population, does that make sense?  Even those who claim heirship may not have any more blood than a lot of other people.  I think this is one where fans have latched onto it a little too strongly and I need to let them know they can back off, there’s not a big secret for them to be hunting.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9468 Copy

    Questioner

    What happened with Abraham’s court martial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So that is backstory that is a RAFO.  Why Abraham was there is not something he necessarily likes to talk about, not that he’s shy, but at the same time it’s not something he easily talks about.  And so I will not talk about it, I will let him, someday perhaps, talk about it.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9470 Copy

    rani

    Hoid uses the term subastral, is that the term for a region of the Cognitive Realm, like Shadesmar is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.  It’s like planet but--  That’s his term for the different--  Because Shadesmar is all like one plane.

    rani

    So wait you’re saying subastral is different?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No subastral is a region of Shadesmar.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9471 Copy

    rani

    Any kind of Investiture to make a Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not any but there are multiple methods.  Some work better than others.

    rani

    Can you Forge a Shardblade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    To Forge a Shardblade, meaning make a regular sword through Forgery into a Shardblade, would require so much Investiture it’s like asking if we can make lead into gold using a particle accelerator.  Yes but it's horribly, horribly, horribly inefficient.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9472 Copy

    Questioner

    Kaladin. I've heard before that authors, when they write characters, particularly heroic characters, they try to put traits that they like about themselves or that they aspire to in these characters. And when I read about Kaladin, he was everything I've aspired to. But he also had this reluctance to it, almost depression. What were you thinking when you wrote Kaladin? What traits did you have in him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, one thing is that he does have depression. That's just an aspect of his personality. I was looking at Kaladin as kind of... extremely loyal, almost to a fault. He's got a bit of this, what we call a superhero complex, where he takes responsibility for things that other people have done. And that can be really advantageous when he's on your side, but it can also be kind of soul-crushing. That's a big aspect of him. The other big aspect of Kaladin is his training as a surgeon, and then discovering that he's really good at killing people. And that contrasted side of him creates a big part of the mix of who he is, the pull from my father versus the pull from my spirit.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9473 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you backstock on neat characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do have some characters I haven't found places for yet.

    Questioner

    Is it just kind of like a mix/match? Do you find a world for them or...

    Brandon Sanderson

    So characters are the hardest one for me to define. Because I need to discover who they are by writing through their viewpoint for a while. And it's an exploration. Other things, I can plot, I can outline, I can plan ahead. Characters, I can't. I need to explore them. So, really, what I have are seeds, conflicts. They could grow into a character. And I'll sometimes try them out, and they won't work, and I'll send that seed back.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9481 Copy

    Questioner

    With The Reckoners you had to make the decision not to put it into your cosmere cosmology, was that a difficult one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was not difficult once I realized I did not want Earth to be part of everything else.

    Questioner

    If it had been would Calamity have been a Shard of Adonalsium?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s an interesting question.  Maybe.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9482 Copy

    Questioner

    Did you worry with Secret History that it was a bit too meta for people who had no idea…

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, that’s why all the warnings are there.  It’s kind of intended for the people who want something, does that make sense?  Like it isn’t really-- it is a story, but it's not a real story, it’s got weird narrative and things to it.  It is there for those who really want to know.

    Questioner

    And I’m one of those people, I just have to wonder if you had no idea you’d be really confused through at least the first half.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes you would.  But that’s why all the warnings are there.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9484 Copy

    Questioner

    How many worlds does [the cosmere] have in it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A couple hundred. A couple hundred stars.

    Questioner

    How many planets are your books going to use?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Habitable worlds, in Goldilocks zones? There's probably 20 or 30, maybe a few more. Maybe up to 50, but you'll only really... there'll be like, ten or so core planets that you'll see stories from.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9485 Copy

    Questioner

    Is Calamity actually a worldhopper?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Calamity, I didn't write this as a part of the cosmere. The main distinction is I didn't want Earth to be in the cosmere, I want it to be distinct. Once I stick Earth in, the cosmology and things doesn't work. The cosmere is a dwarf cluster, and it's a dwarf galaxy, it's a cluster of stars. It's a specific place, and Earth's not part of it.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9487 Copy

    Questioner

    Well you answered my question about Allomancers being able to burn metals in other realms. Is that because the Shards are sort of…  My impression from the book was that the Shards were, in the Mistborn books, specifically in that area but is it because the universe is formed across all of them that that is why the metals...

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, most of the magics are not region-dependent, because the Spiritual Realm-- in the Spiritual Realm space doesn’t exist.  All things are the same distance from one another.

    Questioner

    Okay, so when Kelsier is in the-- Which Realm is he in?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He’s in the Cognitive Realm.

    Questioner

    Is he seeing people from other worlds or is he--

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, he meets some people who are traveling but Cognitive Realm is location dependent.  He is on the Cognitive Realm on Scadrial and the people he runs into there-- until he kind of travels off into space, which is where he finds the fortress.

    Questioner

    So even though he’s tied to Scadrial could he go to the Cognitive Realm of other worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He would have trouble getting to another planet, being a Cognitive shadow like he was.

    Questioner

    So is there some particular thing that somebody would need to have to be able to move between the realms?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A body is helpful. Depends on what their ties are and things like that.  Not always, but yeah.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9488 Copy

    Questioner

    So, when you were coming up with superhero names, did you have to look them up to make sure somebody hadn't done it already?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I had to make sure that they weren't... impossible-to-use names that somebody hasn't done, I just had to make sure they weren't super popular. And some I was able to find that people hadn't done. But some, I'm like, "I have to use this name anyways." But, like, my first three names, like Nightwielder, people had used. I eventually found one that hadn't been used.

    Questioner

    Was that frustrating?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh, it's kinda like the "Simpsons did it" thing. People complain that every plotline's been done by the Simpsons. Superhero powers have all been done, superhero names have all been done; but stories have all been told before. So, it's "What can you add to it?" that you ask yourself.

    Questioner

    So, of the ones that you came up with, how many would you say you looked up and were like "aaaah..."

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say about half.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9489 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm doing video game design, and I'm curious: what are your thoughts on constructing interesting stories, because we're kind of getting to a point where video games are able to tell... like, people are getting used to, basically, interactivity being a medium <with which> to tell a story. I'm curious, from having spent some time developing your craft, how to link that in with being forced to have the 'main character' <do that more often sorts>?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I think there are so many cool <different ways> of people who are doing it, but I'm not sure I can point out and say "This is the right way." I know that my favorite stories from video games tend to be ones where they force you to experience the story without forcing you to stop the game. Things like in inFAMOUS where you're riding from position to position, you're on the phone with people. Or things like Dark Souls, where you kinda just reveal it all around you. I don't like the games where they stop. And play a cutscene.

    Questioner

    Where it takes you out of the game, and it's like, 'movie time.'

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I think there's <a way beyond doing that>. I also really like it when something about the form of the game enhances the story. Like how <Braid> was with <the guy who could rewind time to move stuff back>, stuff like that. There’s all sorts of cool things happening, VR’s only going to make that more interesting.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9492 Copy

    Questioner

    Have we ever seen the Physical embodiment of either Odium or Cultivation?  Similar to what we saw with Ruin chasing...Vin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So... Physical embodiment is kind of hard thing to define with Shards because you could argue that everything is a physical embodiment of them, does that make sense?

    Questioner

    Yes.  I mean more a physical form that the uses share--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh okay, okay.  So have you ever seen Odium’s?  I don’t believe you’ve seen Odium’s.

    Questioner

    What about Cultivation’s?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Cultivation is a RAFO.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9493 Copy

    Questioner

    And then the curse Kelek’s Breath, is that a clue as to the origin of some of the Heralds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Erm… Explain why you think it might be.

    Questioner

    Uh, well, Warbreaker. The use of Breath… It seems like they have similar strength to somebody who has extra Endowment. So I’m wondering if they come from-- I can’t remember the name..

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Heralds--  You’re wondering if the Heralds come from Nalthis?

    Questioner

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Heralds do not come from Nalthis, but that is an excellent question.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9494 Copy

    Questioner

    I kind of envision the Old Magic working a little bit like Hemalurgy, where some-- takes a part of the Physical DNA of the person and transmutes it onto the Cognitive DNA because everything seems to be a Cognitive shift for the person, am I thinking along the right lines?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You are thinking along very-- Yes you are thinking along the right lines.  I won’t tell you exactly but you are thinking along the right lines.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9495 Copy

    Questioner

    For all the spren, like the honorspren and the liespren, I’ve noticed that all of the characters, the honorspren have been girls and all the liespren have been boys.  Is that just ‘cause all the people who attract liespren are girls and all the other people--

    Brandon Sanderson

    So it’s not a one to one ratio of people who are more likely to attract a spren of the opposite gender.

    Questioner

    Is there a reason for that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah I’ll delve into it eventually in the books.  Maybe just obliquely, but there is a reason for it.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9496 Copy

    Questioner

    Why does everyone know about his [Kaladin] Stormblessed name?  Like Gaz knows about it before he survives the highstorms.  Like how do they know?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How do they know?  The rumors were already spreading, people started talking about it and things like that.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9497 Copy

    Questioner

    What would happen if you went to the Nightwatcher asked for your boon to have a boon and no curse?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You would…

    Questioner

    Probably end up with nothing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on the mood the Nightwatcher is in.  When you read Book 3 of Stormlight you’ll get to see a little bit of what the Nightwatcher is, and that will inform what you think about these things, okay?

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9498 Copy

    Questioner

    Vasher/Zahel is a Returned, which means he needs Breath to live.  But Breath doesn’t exist on Roshar.  Does he use St--

    Brandon Sanderson

    He uses Stormlight.  One of the reasons--  In fact one of the primary reasons he’s on Roshar is because Stormlight is so much easier to come by than Breath.  And in fact researching about things like this is one of the reasons he discovered Roshar in the first place.

    Questioner

    So it’s the same reason why Night-- the sword…

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nightblood.

    Questioner

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The exact mechanics of how Nightblood ended up there will be explored in a future book.

    Calamity Seattle signing ()
    #9500 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.