Recent entries

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #9801 Copy

    GenericMastermindAnt

    Have you currently got a series planned for after the Wax and Wayne books? I really enjoyed the first book, although I do miss the full-on Mistborn / Feruchemists.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The next series I'm planning is what was originally going to be the second Mistborn trilogy (right now I'm just calling it Era Three.) It is a 1980s era spy thriller urban fantasy, and I think it will be awesome.

    alexanderwales

    I have a question that I assume is going to be RAFO, but ... 1980s era spy thriller implies something like a Cold War to me. Does this mean United States: Elendelians :: Russia : Southern Peoples?

    (I'm not sure what the proper demonyms would be.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a pretty big RAFO.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
    #9804 Copy

    Patty Goldman

    Is the recipient of the letter in Way of Kings also in Dragonsteel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. (Good question.)

    Patty Goldman

    If so would it be the person that Topaz gets mad at?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO on the second one. I've already given you too much!

    Footnote: The recipient in question is the Dragon named Frost, an inhabitant of Yolen.
    Sources: Twitter, Twitter
    Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
    #9805 Copy

    PaganButterChurner

    Are you Kaladin? Which character do you most identify as?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not Kaladin, and I'm certainly not Hoid. I'm probably closest in personality to Sazed or old Dalinar, but not really a match for either. Really, every character has some of me in them, but none are me.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
    #9807 Copy

    Jennifer Lynch

    Do you have a trick for plowing through writer's block?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I just write anyway, telling myself I don't have to use what I write. I write it poorly, then try again.

    For me, that gets my brain working. You can't be afraid to 'throw away' what you've done for a day and try again.

    With that in mind, you can have the most random of things happen, knowing you won't keep them. Just to get jump-started.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
    #9812 Copy

    justinkjeppesen

    Any suggestions for finding time to write for a full time dad with a full time non-writing job?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on whether or not your day job is creatively draining. If it is writing/programming, etc (more)

    You'll have a much harder time, as those jobs flex the same muscles as novel writing.

    The people I've known who do it tend to get up an hour early, before their brain is worn out, and write then.

    Basically, you'll have to give something up. Television, video games, golf, something. (But not family time.)

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
    #9813 Copy

    gmreynoldsjr

    What are keys to balance family, writing career?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question. I had to make certain hours of the day "off limits" for writing, so that I didn't feel I was missing out on writing time. I could ALWAYS be working, but that's not good emotionally or for the family.

    Otherwise, I try to make my writing time as effective as possible, so I don't feel that sense of "I didn't get anything done."

    That one makes me unbalanced, as I feel anxious if I haven't gotten some good work done in a day.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
    #9814 Copy

    Ashley Moser

    I messaged earlier regarding Alloy of Law appendix narrator, unaware of today's torchat. maybe you can respond in the chat?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't been telling people the name of the appendix author. It is either Hoid or one of the 17th sharders.

    Footnote: The author of the Ars Arcanum (name of the mentioned appendix) has been revealed as Khriss
    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9815 Copy

    Questioner

    What is the thing with Adolin's serial dating? Is it just...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is bad with relationships, and that's just it. He's a little bit scared of being good at relationships, and so there's some kind of unconscious sabotaging going on. But yeah, he's young and he's bad at relationships.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9816 Copy

    Questioner

    I can write dialogue, I can write a couple of other things, but I suck at worldbuilding. And that's something I've watched you do online, I love it, it's great, but I cannot describe it. And any time I start I get two to three pages into it and then I just can't do it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Practice. Number one, keep practicing. Less is more. If you can build great dialogue and great characters, you can pick a couple of cool things, just a few, and make everything else like-- try to [write dialogue] anyway. Pick an Earth culture. Changed it a little bit. You would much rather be good at character dialogue than worldbuilding, I can tell you that right now. A great character in a generic world is still a great story. But a weak character in a great world is a weak story. So, don't stress this one too much, it'll get better as you go along. But just try picking one thing that is cool for you, that's different, and make that swap, and try writing a story. Don't stress this one too much.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9817 Copy

    Questioner

    When Wax changes his weight, is that weight or mass?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is actually changing his mass, in a weird...It's kind of halfway in between, is really what it is. But it follows the laws of conservation of momentum, so it's not just weight. It's timidly a half step inbetween.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9818 Copy

    Questioner

    So in The Stormlight Archive, they have the two Surges, and they have a third power effect, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They have kind of effects on each other, like a reverberation. Yes. I wouldn’t call it expressly a third power, I’d call it interactions.

    Questioner

    So, it seems like...you don’t have to confirm anything, but it seems like Kaladin is able to transfer his powers to his men following him…

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Windrunners are known for having lots of squires.

    Questioner

    That's the one I thought was really compelling. And the Skybreakers seem like they’re really good at hunting people down.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m not going to answer any of those! But good questions!

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9819 Copy

    Questioner

    I would like to know how do you make cultures so vibrant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, dig deep rather than go wide. One or two cultures that play off of each other in an interesting way, where you've considered a lot of the ramifications, are gonna to be better than trying to create thirty different cultures. Try to keep focused on what's going to be important to the characters and the books, and try to spend your worldbuilding there. So like if the characters are going to have conflict over religion, spend time on religion. But if instead they're going to have different linguistics and that's a source of conflict to them, spend time on the linguistics.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9820 Copy

    Questioner

    What does a mistcloak [mistcoat] look like? What does Wax's miscloak look like?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so Wax's is a mistcoat. It's a duster that has been shredded into strips. But remember, there’s not like an industry that makes these. Each person commissions their own, and so they all vary quite widely.

    Questioner

    Are they at the waist, or…?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s a little above the waist.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9823 Copy

    Questioner

    Do we get to find out, what happens, where Calamity comes from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Eventually, like the next trilogy I do will dig into that... You've gotta remember, in the teen books I’m not going to dig into lore as much, they're written as action novels. So in the next series I'll get you some of your answers, but that's not what the point of these books-- like The Stormlight Archive, the point is the lore. In these books, the point is “have fun”. So. So you will, but it's going to take a little bit longer.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9824 Copy

    Questioner

    As you were constructing the Allomantic powers revealed in the Wax and Wayne books, I was just curious why you chose cadmium and chromium to be metals.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well I picked them way back when I first designed the magic system, and I wanted metals that were easily recognizable but which wouldn't be commonly available in a medieval society, so that as society progressed it would make sense that they would have access to these new metals, if that makes sense. Aluminum was a little in that as well, but I like aluminum because they had it anciently, but very rarely. So it could be a more mythical metal.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9825 Copy

    Questioner

    If Hoid was on Scadrial during the original Mistborn trilogy, and had a bead of lerasium, and took it and gained Allomantic powers, could he then go to Roshar during Stormlight and still have those Allomantic powers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes… Most of the magics are not re-- area centric, though a few of them are.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9826 Copy

    Questioner

    The flakes of metal are catalysts to access the powers of Preservation. What do the birds from Patji use as catalysts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You don't always have to have the exact same thing for catalyst, for that it’s kind of more of an innate Connection, in the same way that the metals have an innate Connection. They are the catalyst, if that makes sense.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
    #9828 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 ()
    #9829 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 ()
    #9830 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 ()
    #9832 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 ()
    #9833 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 ()
    #9835 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 ()
    #9836 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 ()
    #9837 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 ()
    #9838 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 ()
    #9844 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 ()
    #9846 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 ()
    #9847 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 ()
    #9848 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 ()
    #9849 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.