Recent entries

    Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
    #9501 Copy

    wispirr

    Given that these Stormlight books are (understandably) taking longer than you originally planned, have you had to re-outline your plans for the Cosmere overall to keep it from getting too big to finish? If each Stormlight book were to take 3 years going forward, then after Oathbringer it would be 7x3=21 years before the whole series is finished, and then all the Mistborn sci-fi and Dragonsteel books would have to happen, in addition to any other projects you're planning. At least that's the plan as I understand it. I definitely admire your ambition!

    Brandon Sanderson

    No revision plans right now, but I am watching. Considering my career so far had only been about ten years, and I've made great progress on the Cosmere, my instincts say I will be okay. But it is worth considering.

    Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
    #9502 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've been plugging away on the book, slowly but surely. Part Two went longer than I wanted. (Big surprise.) I finished it last week, though, and the full book current wordcount is at 247k. (400k is the goal. Note that of that 247, some 20k or so is for Parts Three and Four, as I wrote the flashback sequences for Dalinar all straight through.)

    I wanted to be further by the arrival of July, but was slowed down by two things. First, touring in February and March. Writing while on tour is killer, and I tend to be very slow during high-travel times. After that, I spent most of May writing Edgedancer, the Stormlight novella that is going in the Cosmere Collection this fall. (I consider it an apology for not having Stormlight Three out this year.)

    Everything is still looking good for an Oathbringer release next year. I don't have any major touring until I go to Europe in October/November, and there are no other projects like Edgedancer on my plate. So at my current rate of 10k a week, without any interruptions planned, I should be finishing up right around the middle of October.

    Part Two turned out well, though it's a slower, more lore-and-character focused section. (It includes some viewpoint chapters I think you'll find unexpected and interesting, though it has less action than other sections of Stormlight.)

    If you look at the visual outline from the second update, I've finished everything for Part Two. My next task is to do a quick revision of Edgedancer to be turned in this week, and then do a revision of Part Two. I'm doing an unusual thing (for me) in revising each part after I finish it, then sending it to my team for continuity and editing. We discovered that a big slow-down in getting Word of Radiance ready was me waiting for the team to get back with increasingly-complex and detailed continuity notations.

    This means when I finish the first draft of this book, it will actually be the second draft, which will speed up revisions a ton. (I should be able to move right into them, and do the third draft right away.)

    The biggest challenge for the book will be making sure I don't go TOO long, as (like other Stormlight books) it's important to me that the book be read as a single volume, instead of as separate books published in a split-up way. (I can't prevent this in some markets, though.)

    As always, thanks for reading.

    Mistborn: Secret History Explanation ()
    #9503 Copy

    Phantine

    Do the other uses for those metals [nicrosil, aluminum, duralumin] currently in the RPG also work in-universe, or are they just there for RPG mechanics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most of the things in the RPG books relating to the metals that you don't see in the books fall under the "We need to make a game out of this somehow, Brandon" clause. I've told them they can extrapolate if they want, but that I wouldn't consider their extrapolations canon.

    Herowannabe

    So does that mean that these metals will be getting updated rules in a future RPG supplement?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a possibility. I've said before that you should consider any games you play to be in an alternate dimension anyway, where the rules work slightly differently, and your players can control the fate of what is going on. Plus, it will be years before I can get to the nature of all this in the next trilogy, so we'll see how relevant it all is in five years or so.

    Mistborn: Secret History Explanation ()
    #9505 Copy

    i_do_stuff

    So Mr. Sanderson, I've been wondering. Since I am a very pop-culture interested person, when you say "1980s," I think leg-warmers, shoulder-pads, bright colors, hair metal, new wave and all that stuff. Lots of mousse. I guess that makes my question to you, will we see any of that "traditionally 80s" stuff make an appearance in the next series? I'm picturing Sazed/Harmony "looking down" (for lack of a better term) on Scadrial, seeing the cosmere equivalent of a Twisted Sister or Wyld Stallyns or the Beastie Boys concert and being very intrigued by it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm planning it based more on tech level than pop culture, though I do think some of these things go hand in hand. (Like the rise of certain kinds of counter cultures, and musical departures.) So you may not see hair bands, but you will likely see counter cultures that fit the society.

    Mistborn: Secret History Explanation ()
    #9507 Copy

    yahasgaruna

    So assuming that the other novels in the White Sand trilogy were meant to be the same length, that means White Sand will take about nine years to finish?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, there's a big "IF" in there. We don't know how the book will be received in the first place. If it IS well received, and people want more, I will sit down with the person who adapted my book and see if we can take my notes and do them justice in an adaptation for another graphic novel.

    We'll see how things go. I'm hoping they come out faster than one a year, but I can't promise anything, as I really don't have much experience with this. My only mandate to the publisher was that we do them as graphic novel collections, instead of individual comics, as I didn't want to risk a repeat of the Wheel of Time comic situation (where one issue came out, and then a LONG delay came before the second appeared.)

    yahasgaruna

    Hah! As one of the people who've had the fortune to read a copy of the White Sand manuscript you sent, I have to say I find the likelihood of it not being a hit close to zero.

    So we're getting at least 3 graphic novels, with a possibility of more depending on reception right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that's correct.

    Aurimus

    Hold on, so there are 3 GN books being made from the 1 manuscript? nice!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. The book is long enough, that the script turned out to be quite long. I don't know if they're planning an omnibus eventually or not.

    Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
    #9508 Copy

    Audrin

    If an Awakener imbued Stick with Biochromatic Breath, would it say something other than I am a stick? Would it matter if it was passively stored or given a Command?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to stay away from questions like this, as the mechanics of Shadesmar is one of those things I'm planning to roll out slowly over the next few books. Ask me again sometime around Stormlight six.

    Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
    #9509 Copy

    gabbim

    I was just wondering if any of your characters from Cosmere is interested in same-sex relationships, romantically speaking. Jasnah perhaps?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are some, but I have left main character relationship issues to be discussed until characters have progressed further in their stories. Jasnah, in particular, is complicated.

    Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
    #9510 Copy

    Quantumplation

    I ordered a copy of the 10th anniversary edition of Elantris (and another for a friend) and asked you to draw the Aon for Mathematics in the cover. However, I forgot to ask for the actual name of the Aon! Can you enlighten me, or do I need to wait for the next book I get signed? :P

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's actually one that isn't in the books. Should have mentioned it. Soo (Pronounced So-oh.)

    Footnote: I picture of the personalization the questioner is referring to can be found here.
    Sources: Reddit
    Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
    #9511 Copy

    Shovelbum26

    You've written about a huge amount of cultures where women are expected to conform to what we think of as "traditional gender roles". In Stormlight, Mistborn, Elantris and Warbreaker all, the strong women are largely defined through how they buck these rigid gender roles. I never got the sense that you think of those as "natural" gender roles for women but more that you were using the Fantasy setting with its stereotypical Elizabethan ideas of gender to critique sexism. That's a great and well established way to address sexism in novels, but the other way is to actively challenge stereotypes in the setting, by showing that our idea of gender roles isn't inevitable (by showing a society with a very different idea of gender roles).

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm aware of the things you say regarding sexism, and they are things I think about a lot. On one hand, you want to make stories relateable, which often requires leaning on people who struggle against the boundaries set for them. At the same time, it becomes a cliche if every young woman is forced to become a fighter for gender equality--and it lets her gender define her struggles in a way that is not heaped upon the male characters.

    With Stormlight, I'm trying to take a different look at this idea in many ways. Some of which would be spoilers to talk about here.

    Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
    #9513 Copy

    katfan97

    Um, what about us (Wit fans)? Will we see any more of him in this book? RAFO?

    Brandon Sanderson

    :) Well, he hasn't skipped a book in the cosmere yet...!

    havoc_mayhem

    Was he in Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, or does that only count as a story, not a book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was meaning full novels. There are a number of the novellas where he doesn't appear.

    Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
    #9514 Copy

    momanie

    Question about the second half of the 10 books what did you mean by having the primary characters shuffle and are the 2 arcs separate in time line or something else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there are two arcs. Small separation in time. Not as much as Mistborn. Many same characters will appear, but some will be less prominent.

    momanie

    Will there be different main character PoV's or no?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be a completely new set of characters with flashback sequences, but some of the characters from the first five will appear quite a lot, and will provide a "through line" of people with arcs that cross ten books--making it one series, not two.

    Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
    #9517 Copy

    HellaSober

    (Until the second five books, where our primary characters will shuffle. So you Renarin fans will have to be patient.)

    Do you worry that assuring us that a character will likely survive the first arc of the series removes some of the tension in their scenes?

    (While you've discussed the idea that a main character can have a book about them while they are dead when Dalinar was expected to be central to book 5, this seems different)

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have said many times before that Renarin and Lift are main characters for the next five, but--as you point out--I've also said that I have no problem having a main character who is actually dead, and their story told through flashbacks and the stories of the other characters. Renarin is not safe, but you will see a lot more from him in the future, even if he does die.

    To say more would be to give too many spoilers about the nature of the back five books.

    Stormlight Three Update #2 ()
    #9518 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hello, reddit. I figured I'd pop back in and give you a new update on your book. (I can't believe it's been six months since the last one.)

    I'll give a slight spoiler warning to everything below this paragraph. I'm obviously not going to say anything story-wise that would spoil the book. However, I'll be talking a little about the structure of it and what's going on with the draft. I can see some people, very sensitive to spoilers, being concerned about learning anything at all about the book. For you who fit this description, let me just say that I'm approaching the halfway point, but I'm not there yet. The book is going very well, and I'm pleased with it.

    Now, on to a deeper discussion of the novel. The first thing I did for Stormlight 3 was work on the flashback sequences for Dalinar and Szeth, as I hadn't yet decided which one would match this book. Through this process, I decided on Dalinar--a decision contrary to my original outline from the start of the series. This didn't concern me; the decision was made based on how the series had developed, and it's always good to expect some things to change during the actual writing. (For example, much of Kaladin's plot from book two was originally slated for book three.) Being too slavish to an outline isn't ever a good thing.

    This decision made, I sat down and wrote Dalinar's flashbacks in their entirety. By the end of them, I was completely convinced these were the best paring for this book. That meant, as this was "his" book, I wanted Dalinar viewpoints to show up in all five parts of Oathbringer. You see, Stormlight Books have a kind of strange format. I plot them in this bizarre fashion that likely makes sense only to me. But I'll try to explain.

    I split each book into five parts, which group together to form three chunks plotted like individual volumes of a trilogy--with a large, over-arching plot that ties into the five-book arc of the initial sequence, which in turn is half of the complete ten book arc. Each volume, then, has a complete trilogy's worth of arcs and climaxes for the primary characters (Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar) while also having a self-contained flashback sequence, at least one secondary novelette about a character that hasn't had viewpoints so far, and a related short story collection. The "main character" for the book gets, beyond their flashback sequence, a role in each part of the story.

    So this means a slightly larger plot for Dalinar, and a slight scaling back for Kaladin and Shallan. (Don't worry; both will be in the book around as much as Kaladin was in Words of Radiance.) Now, the plotting for Oathbringer--as I mentioned--is broken into five chunks, which combine into three chunks. (I call them books here for lack of a better word, as the novel--like each other in the series--is a trilogy bound in one volume. Don't be confused. This doesn't mean I'm splitting the book for publication, only that it is plotted in a way with divisions between the story arcs.)

    "Book One" of Oathbringer is all of Part one, plus the interludes. "Book Two" is parts two and three, plus two sets of interludes. "Book Three" is parts four and five, plus interludes. Of these, part two is going to be the biggest oddball, as I'm putting another novelette (separated into six chapters) in here as I feel I need a glimpse at another character. So it's going to have the least focus on primary viewpoints.

    I've finished all of the flashbacks, all of the viewpoints for part one, the novelette for part two, and part of the other novelette (the one that will take the place of Szeth from book one or Eshonai from book two.) This, so far, puts me at about 180k words written--with 130k of that being part one in its entirety, and the rest being scenes listed above.

    If that sounds confusing, I apologize. These books are somewhat involved to write, and more complex stories demand some outlining that gets a little crazy. However, I did whip up a visualization of the viewpoint structure, which I've posted below.

    Stormlight Three Visual Outline

    This doesn't give an exact view of scale, as--for instance--part one will likely be the longest of the five. Part Two looks the most full, but it's likely to have only three or four chapters from each of the primary characters (well, one chapter from one of them) so it should actually be shorter than part one. Part Five isn't cut off; I know it will be short, as it was in the other two books.

    Next up is to do a revision of part one. (I don't often do revisions in the middle of a book, but with books this long, it's helpful for me to keep the plot under control and maintain continuity through the parts.) From there, I'll write Dalinar for part two, interweave with the appropriate flashbacks and the already-finished novelette, then look at the detailed plotting of the other three viewpoints in the part. I hope to bring this part in at around 70k words, bringing the total book to 200k and getting us to roughly the halfway point.

    If this makes your head spin, then don't worry, you can ignore it. It is important to me that these books, though epic in scope, retain a tight view of the primary characters through all volumes. You will see a lot of Dalinar, Kaladin, and Shallan. You will see a moderate amount of Szeth, Eshonai, Jasnah, Adolin, and Navani. There will be a few surprises regarding other characters who have slightly larger places in the plot, but in general, anyone not on one of the above lists isn't allowed more than a viewpoint here or there. (Until the second five books, where our primary characters will shuffle. So you Renarin fans will have to be patient.)

    I'm determined to maintain momentum in this story without letting it veer too far away from the primary plot. I feel that a careful outline and a consistent structure are the methods by which I will achieve this.

    Thanks for your patience.

    Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
    #9520 Copy

    SageOfTheWise

    Aww, was really hoping to get a Rysn book. Hopefully we still get a lot more of her anyway.

    She can team up with Adolin and make their own club for people too cool for books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rysn will appear again. Not getting a book does not mean someone isn't an important character, just that I don't consider them as having a flashback sequence worthy of structuring a book around.

    Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
    #9521 Copy

    the-kings-wit

    One thing that I'm slightly confused about is who the primary POVs will be for the second set of 5 books in the 10-book series. I've heard a bunch of names being floated around on various online forums--such as Jasnah, Renarin, and Taravangian to name a few--but are any of these confirmed? Any word of Brandon as of yet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's possible this will change. But the back five have been planned as Jasnah, Renarin, Lift, Taln, and Ash. Though, once again, this isn't a promise that these people survive. You'll likely see at least one flashback set in the series from a character who has died in a previous book, and then you get to see something they experienced through flashbacks before their death.

    faragorn

    I'm having trouble locating Ash. No direct matches on coppermind.net, 17th shard forums or google.

    Do you mean Ashir from one of the WoK interludes? Or perhaps someone we haven't met yet (at least by name).

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are a lot of weird things going on with Ash, so what's up with her will be something you'll have to wait on for a long while.

    Enasor

    But how about the characters we currently love? Are they all gone in the second half??? This is terrible :-(

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, they will be around. (Well, if they survive.) But the second series will be taking place years later, and their roles may have changed.

    Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
    #9522 Copy

    clayton_japes

    Is the plan still to take a break after book five to do the modern day Mistborn trilogy or does the schedule of a new Stormlight book every two to three years mean that the second set of proper Mistborn books will fit in between those smaller gaps?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that's still the plan. Stormlight 5 is an end of a distinct arc, and Mistborn era three's outlines are getting very close to being done. This schedule makes a great deal of sense to me.

    Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
    #9523 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hello, Reddit.

    As someone else has posted, I have finished the rough draft of Dalinar's flashbacks for Stormlight Three. I consider the experiment of writing his flashbacks for this book, instead of waiting for book five, to be a success. Therefore, I'm proceeding with the Dalinar/Szeth flip.

    The reasoning for this is something I can't discuss in detail until the book is released. I'd be happy to revisit this topic once you all have a chance to read the novel. But for now, a few statistics.

    I'm working at about 2,000 words a day on average. That's slow for me (a better rate is around 3,000 words) but Stormlight is difficult to write. The complexity of the worldbuilding and the narrative structure require extra attention and detail. At this rate, though, I should be finishing the book sometime between December and February. We'll see--I have a tour for the new Mistborn book, as well as several weeks in the UK, coming up. They'll impact my ability to write.

    I'm doing a revision on these Dalinar scenes right now, and I'm very pleased with them. At fifteen chapters and 55k (rough draft) they're significantly longer than the other two sequences--I had a lot more to cover in them. I still anticipate the finished novel being about the length of the other two; Dalinar's flashbacks will simply eat a little into his other narrative. Also, expect the wordcount to shrink as I do revisions.

    Next step is digging into Part One. I anticipate this book moving well in the coming months; my outline is solid, my enthusiasm high, and I will finally get to write some scenes I've been planning for over a decade now.

    Thank you for putting up with the delayed pace of Stormlight releases. I know you all think I'm freakishly fast, but the truth is that even if I can get this book in on time, it will be two and half years between Stormlight releases. I've accepted that this is just how my process has to work. The difference between me and other writers (ones I wish readers would disparage less) doesn't seem to be one of actual speed. It's just that the thing that relaxes me for the next book happens to be writing side projects that, hopefully, you all enjoy reading.

    Edit: As a bonus, here's the first line from the first flashback: "Rockbuds crunched like skulls beneath Dalinar’s boots as he charged across the burning field."

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9524 Copy

    CatGrylls

    Have you written/will you write something equivalent to the Silmarillion for the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not impossible, but I'm not planning on it currently. There WILL be a prequel series, dealing with the events leading to the shattering of Adonalsium, but will focus mostly on Hoid and not really be equivalent.

    baytepp92

    Is that planned to be completed/released after the main overall Cosmere story is completed? Or will it lead up to the finale of the main Cosmere stories?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    It will lead up to the finale.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9525 Copy

    ConserveGuy

    Hi Brandon I don't know if you will answer, but. Did "earth" ever exist in the cosmere? There seems to be humans on all the planets. so where did humans come from? or even the idea of humans?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Earth did not exist in the cosmere. Humans existed on Yolen (and other planets) before the shattering of Adonalsium, and it is assumed Adonalsium created them.

    From a writing perspective, stepping back, I feel like other book series (like the Wheel of Time, Pern, Shannara) really covered the idea of, "This is Earth and/or earth people in another dimension/after an apocalypse/or far in the future." It's been a common enough theme in fantasy that I felt I wanted not to touch on it. So there are no plans to connect the cosmere to Earth in any way.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9527 Copy

    unknown

    Is it possible to make an artificial shard? And not in an easy manner but if one had the resources and time could they make one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not sure what an artificial shard would be. You'd be using the power from Adonalsium to do it--so it wouldn't be 'artificial,' by cosmere terms. You'd just be collecting power. The question becomes if you gather enough of it, would it combine back together--which is a RAFO in the world. Nobody knows.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9528 Copy

    sv15249

    1)Flashback characters for books 4 and 5 are Eshonai and Szeth.In previous books "main" character got a role in all five parts of the book.Will it be the same for these two?Szeth and Eshonai are important, but had very little "screen time" so far.So, in their books will they get a huge role in main narrative?Or will they have flashback sequence only, but main narrative will still focus on our three main heroes(Kaladin,Dalinar,Shallan)?

    2)How you deal with multiple POV's?Their amount increase with each book, which means less "screen time" for each character.I know, in series with such big cast, it's very hard to keep balance.What is your possible solution for this problem?Just don't say, you will kill some characters to free space for new ones :D George Martin style.

    3)

    4)Is it possible, that main characters from first five will show up in last five books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    1) Having not read those books, I can't say 100%--but the original plan was to do it this way, and Book Three continues the trend. Shallan/Dalinar/Kaladin will continue to be very important, but I might pull back on side characters. We'll see.

    2) This is the biggest challenge in writing epic fantasy. For me, I divided the series into two halfs (books 1-5 and books 6-10) with a focus on some characters for the first half, some for the second. But also, I do plan for certain characters to step back a little in other books. It's a balance I'm still juggling.

    3)

    4) Yes, many of them will--and will still be important.

    sv15249

    Interesting.So you consider Szeth and Eshonai as supporting characters now?And characters like Rysn, Zahel(I heard, he's a character from your other book, but I haven't read it yet), and Taravangian...can they be considered side characters too, with supposed bigger role in the future? Have you chosen a flashback character for Book 4 yet?(Eshonai or Szeth?)

    I hope, you plan a distinct ending for first part of SA(books 1-5) with conclusions of the story arcs of all main heroes, instead of cliffhanger ending:)Did you have an ounline for all five books(major plot turn, destinies for all characters) when you started the series, or you deciding in the process?

    "I do plan for certain characters to step back a little in other books." You mean situations like Shallan being absent from two parts in Way of Kings?And Dalinar in WoR.

    Brandon Sanderson

    These are all things that will be clear as I write further. If I say too much, it will give spoilers.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9531 Copy

    Oversleep

    I know the Fourth Mistborn Era is to be sci-fi and FTL... but would we get some cyberpunk Scadrial at all? Because from what I gather it sounds like only space faring and travelling to other worlds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've toyed with a cyberpunk era Mistborn. It will depend on how quickly I move getting through the series.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9536 Copy

    Phyrkrakr

    I just finished Arcanum Unbounded and I have to ask: Who's the "dangerous" guy in the corner of the waystop in Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell? That's not Hoid, is it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is not Hoid. I toyed with a cameo for him in the story, but decided that forcing him to be at every little point in all the smaller stories was just having him be there for the sake of having him be there. It's better for the cosmere if I don't force him into every story, but let him be involved in the ones where he has a legitimate reason.

    Beyond that, getting on and off of Threnody is not particularly easy.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9537 Copy

    zuriel45

    Will there ever be a story or book about a character as they move (fully) into a worldhopper. I'm thinking a story like how Khriss went from a protagonist in White Sand to a well known world hopper/scholar of the cosmere.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you'll see this eventually.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9538 Copy

    zuriel45

    What worlds within the cosmere are you excited to write about that you haven't yet touched on (or touched significantly enough on)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do want to do a Threnody novel. The world of Dark One, if I manage to get it into the cosmere, is cool. Silence Divine. There are a lot of them.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9540 Copy

    Job601

    Your books are unusual for the fantasy genre in that they are interested in exploring traditional Christian values, usually coming down in their favor (especially faith in providence and the willingness to believe in a divine plan for the world and the individual, something which comes up again and again in your work.) At the same time, your characters have reason to be suspicious of the specific forms of religious practice in their worlds, and the cult of the survivor in particular can be read as a conflicted portrayal of religion: it's a kind of religious belief which works in some way for its faithful despite being based on a falsehood, and Kelsier is a kind of dark parody of Christ. The cosmere seems to have an implicit theology which separates the truly divine, which is fundamentally inaccessible even to the most knowledgeable characters, from the apparently divine shards and splinters. I guess my question is, how do you think about integrating religious themes into a fantasy universe, particularly given your systematic style?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are a lot of things mixing here--more, probably, than I'm aware of myself. (This is the sort of area where I let reader analysis and criticism do the work, as they're probably going to be able to notice connections more explicitly than I will. Like most writers, I'm working by instinct much of the time.)

    One element I can talk about is the need for the cosmere to have questions that will go unanswered. This is most expressly manifest in the "big" questions. Is there a God? What is the actual afterlife like, if there really is one? Is there such a thing as a soul, and are cognitive shadows the actual person, or a manifestation of the magic imitating a person's thought processes?

    The reason I don't answer these as myself (though characters certainly have ideas) is because I feel it important the text not undermine the characters who choose not to believe in these things. Though I think I've found answers in life, people rationally disagree with me--and to express only my worldview in the books would severely hamper my ability to have characters who disagree with me, and other characters.

    In short, if I were to say, "Yes, there's an all-powerful God" then it would directly undermine characters like Jasnah, who argue otherwise. At the same time, I want characters like Kelsier to develop naturally, and do things that are in line with how sometimes, religions develop on our world, without having it be a statement. (Or, at least one other than, "Hey, this happens some time on our world. It happened here too.")

    Fantasy offers some unique opportunities to explore the human condition with religion, and I want to take advantage of that, to see where it takes me and to see what I can learn from the process.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9541 Copy

    unknown

    As silly as this may sound, one of my favorite things about The Stormlight Archive thus far has been the flora you describe in the world.

    What inspired you to spend time developing unique and world-appropriate plants? I feel like plants are so often an overlooked detail, even in books with heavy world-building.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I knew that I wanted some worlds in the cosmere to be truly strange. Fantasy tends to shy away from very odd ecosystems, but I think it shouldn't. (Even in Mistborn, we started with strange flora.)

    For Roshar, I started with the storms, then worked toward what I think would have evolved there (erring on the side of the fantastical.) The primary inspirations were tidal pools and coral reefs.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9542 Copy

    unknown

    How come they're still called EARTHquakes in Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I know it's a joke, but I actually have an answer! One I stole from Tolkien, who mentioned all his books are "in translation" to English from an original language--so the translator takes liberties. They're called earthquakes for the same reason that Shallan's puns work in English--the one taking them from the original language to English came up with something that works for us, even if it isn't a one-to-one translation. :)

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9543 Copy

    Glorious_Infidel

    Are any of the characters in your books strongly influenced by people you know in real life? Would you be able to share a few if so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sure! Most are cameos. Many people in Bridge Four are based on friends/family members. Skar, Peet, Drehy, Bisig, Yake, and a few others are friends or family.

    Sarene was loosely based on a friend of mine from college.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9544 Copy

    CoffeeArchives

    Starting with the Cosmere, and now with Apocalypse Guard, it's clear that you love shared universes. If all of your works were in the same universe, what would be the most fun crossover to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmmm... It's probably the cosmere all-world mashup I'm actually planning to do in the future.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9545 Copy

    quadquapters

    I was surprised when I learned just how much more Mistborn you're planning on writing, and was even more surprised when I heard that the Wax and Wayne quadrilogy was only a spin-off and not part of your major plans for the series. But now I've found out you've decided to include those books as a major part of the larger series and instead do 4 different stories within it. Will this mean the next part (which I understood was going to take place in the more or less present) will be further into the future so as to space out each story? And what was the reasoning behind including Wax and Wayne in the main series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I changed my opinions on Wax and Wayne after writing the first book, then outlining books 2-4 (which are a kind of "Trilogy" with these characters, when the first book was an experiment.)

    I realized that the next era (which is still 1980's level technology) would work way better with some foundations in the W&W era. I'm very pleased what this did to Era Three, as it now is (1980s), because of the foundations in Era Two.

    And yes, the next series will each go further into the future.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9546 Copy

    HiuGregg

    I came across something about your planned "Dark One" series, and was wondering if you could tell us anything about the planned world or magic system for that book? Me and my friends are electric/electronic engineers, and we've wasted far too much time debating how people could theoretically channel electricity from a planet (I've even dragged some professors into the discussion), so I'm very interested to see what you've came up with!

    Brandon Sanderson

    The honest truth is that I haven't gotten past the, "Okay, here's the concept" stage. For Roshar, that was the storm--and then it took research and work (which I haven't done yet) to get the science to work. I haven't had the time to do that for Dark One yet.

    I'd love to hear what you have to say on the topic, maybe use you and your friends as consultants. I'd say DM me, but that will get lost in the replies to this thread. So maybe DM me in a month? Or, better yet, drop me an email through my website with your suggestions?

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #9550 Copy

    Raptori

    Something I've always noticed is missing from your State of the Sanderson updates is any mention of a sequel to The Emperor's Soul. Is that something you might eventually get around to (after the Elantris sequel for example), or do you feel that story has been told?

    TES is easily my favorite of your stories, with a depth of character and theme which really surprised me. Would love to read more - especially if it were more novella-length works!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've been hesitant to do a sequel, as I don't want to "George Lucas" the story. Emperor's Soul is one of those stories that turned out very well on its own, and I worry that doing another story could take away from how well it works on its own now. I might have Shai do cameos in other stories, though.