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    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    WhoisJohnFaust

    I got a real emotional allomancy vibe from Moash here. It felt like he was rioting Kal's depression and exhaustion. Is there something more going on than must Moash having a past and being able to cut Kal to the soul?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can see how it would be read that way, but you have it a little reversed. This depression and exhaustion is how Kal has been feeling lately, and he's been painting over it with other emotions. He's been forcing himself to keep moving, and at this moment, he was just too tired to keep lying to himself.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Claincy

    I've been thinking for a while about the presentation of disability and chronic pain in Brandon's books and I reread a bunch of them recently and ended up with a lot of thoughts. I wrote a letter/email to Brandon trying to provide a little insight and I think it might be worth sharing here as well.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is exactly the kind of feedback that is useful for writers to hear. I try to do the best I can, but I can always do better. I particularly like how you outlined some of the traps/tropes authors fall into, because those are exactly the things that are super helpful for me to read. (And similar lists have helped me a lot with my writing in other areas.)

    I don't want to say much more than that, because I don't want to imply your perspective is invalid. (It most certainly is.) But I do want to mention that I pay a lot of attention this kind of issue, and there is a fine line to walk. Many things having to do with disability have a bit controversy surrounding them similar to the cochlear implant one--where the community itself can be very divided at what they want to happen, and what they want to see happen in fiction.

    I consider it my job to listen, particularly to well-reasoned and passionate arguments like yours. But I do need to note that there are arguments on the other side that I do also listen to. And I personally--from all the many things I've read and the time I've spent pondering it--do not currently consider curing of physical aliments with magic to be inherently problematic. I DO consider it to be a difficult issue, and recognize your feelings, which are completely valid. If healing people of disability in the real world is difficult and full of touchy subjects, with a variety of opinions, then it certainly is valid to consider it so in fantasy!

    My goal is always to try to depict the varieties of different human experience and opinions. And, indeed, one of my goals with Rysn is to specifically have a character to contrast someone like Lopen--who falls (as you have noted) on a different side of the argument.

    But, to be honest, I don't even consider the healing of mental disabilities with magic to be inherently problematic. (Speed of Dark, an excellent science fiction novel, is about a cure for autism--and is done brilliantly.) I do run into a lot of people who really like that I don't let Stormlight heal most mental illness--but I'd say I've run into an equal number of people with depression who wish that I would let it do so, and have told me they'd take a cure for depression without hesitation if one gets invented. (Indeed, there are many who do a great deal to medically to try just this.)

    What I would say is that I need to be careful not to present one idea as the only valid response to these sorts of things. You're absolutely right that there is a perspective I need to be careful not to invalidate, and tropes I can be harmful in perpetuating if I don't watch myself. (My sister in law has chronic fatigue, and yeah--the number of people who told her if she was just stronger-willed, she'd get past it, is huge.)

    I will be very careful with the Rysn novella. (And we do these days try very hard to have specific readers who have disabilities like the ones I depict. It is my plan to do this here.) And I'll keep your post handy as I revise, as I think it will be helpful.

    [deleted]

    I would strongly urge you with Renarin in particular to not do some sort of "cure" storyline and to leave him as autistic. I feel that the story would be better off with that and would most probably do more good that way.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have no intention of "curing" Renarin, as I agree with your points here--but I really appreciate you mentioning them. We are aligned on this idea. I used Speed of Dark as an example of how a theoretical cure could be used in a story in a non-problematic way. (In that story, a cure is invented, and the story is entirely about the ramifications of it--and the dangers. It is a highlight of why I think Science Fiction is important. Asking the question, "What if?" before something happens in real life gives us a lot of questions, ideas, and concerns to work on as a society in preparation for such events.)

    That said, that is a book that specifically deals with this idea. My intention for the Stormlight Archive, and Renarin specifically, is to explore him as a character. Not to change him into someone else.

    Claincy

    I was wondering if we'd see assistive devices using fabrials in future stormlight books? I think there might be a lot of in-world potential with fabrials in wheelchairs, prosthetics and other assistive devices as that technology progresses.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dawnshard actually has Rysn looking at fabrials and wondering if those could be of use in the way you're indicating here. I think you'll be pleased with the result.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    [deleted]

    Are we to take Moash literally here [in Rhythm of War Chapter Eight] or metaphorically? Like is he literally telling Kaladin to kill himself or is he talking about some meta physical death/rebirth?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to have to RAFO this for now. I don't want to interfere with the text doing its job. Suffice it to say I knew this would be a subject of discussion, and the unfolding of the story should fuel the debate.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eight

    Annotation for this chapter: Moash was one of the characters that was most difficult to get right for this book. There's a difficult balance to maintain with him, compounded by how difficult a line I'm walking with Kaladin in these chapters. I had to do several tone rewrites of this chapter after the Alpha read, to make it all work.

    Part of the trick was to convey just how exhausted Kaladin is, mentally while in his viewpoint--since he doesn't accept it himself. Then mix that with a Moash who, in part, does still want to be a good friend--but no longer is capable of reasoning in a conventional way. (And who won't acknowledge to himself that being right, proving that he made the right decisions, is actually far more important to him than his friendships ever were.)

    You'll get a Moash viewpoint in a future interlude, which should help explain where his mindset is these days. As for Kaladin, well, it's becoming more and more difficult for him to maintain the lie that everything is fine.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Asdomuss

    Honestly, given how depleted the sunlight reaching the ground is, and given how it talks about the Lord Ruler modifying the peoples of the planet in order to survive, it would make sense for everyone to be really pale, as that increases vitamin D production.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I usually see Sazed as black myself, but I very specifically didn't talk a lot about races in Mistborn for a couple of reasons. (Though Vin is often mentioned being pale.)

    The most relevant of these reasons is that if Terris were all black, then the secret about the Lord Ruler would just kind of be a silly one for nobody to have noticed. So I've noted in the screenplay treatment that either everyone has to be the same skin tone, or all societies need to have varied skin tones.

    In my mind, it's the latter. Scadrial is a completely fabricated world, and done recently (in the last ten thousand years) on a cosmological scale. People were made and placed there, and there hasn't really been time for evolution to play a big role in things like adapting to certain environments.

    The LR did change people to survive, and what you mention is indeed a good way to do it--but not the only way. Regardless, you may head-canon Sazed as looking however you want.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    MyCatGreg

    I’ve never seen that antagonist issue [Skelletor Syndrome] described before, but it’s really interesting to learn about and it seems like the opposite of what I call Dragon Ball Z syndrome - something Red Rising also had a heavy problem with. It’s the endless cycle of main character beats somebody in a fight, someone stronger comes along and almost kills them, main character is defeated, then trains and gets stronger in order to ultimately win in a re-match, then rinse and repeat into oblivion. Someone stronger comes along, almost kills them, they heal and train, win in a rematch, yadda yadda yadda. It was literally the entire story structure of Dragon Ball Z, and is my least favorite part of Red Rising. Makes the story feel too predictable.

    Thankfully it’s not something you have any sort of issue with! Your post just reminded me of it. IMO it seems like those protagonist/antagonist issues only truly show themselves as a problem when the creator doesn’t have an ending in mind or a story outlined before publishing the first of a series (cough Disney Star Wars cough)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you hit on something real with DBZ syndrome too. It can make it feel like achievements the characters make are weak, and basically worthless, since they're immediately back into the same state as before--too weak to fight a new villain who makes their old "power level" look the same as their current one.

    I think there is an important line to walk here that doesn't stray too far either direction--but it's not so hard as that, so long as new characters and situations present different kinds of challenges. Done right, you have something like the original series of star wars, where at first you think that simply being a better duelist will let Luke defeat Vader--but then the scope expands, and he realizes that it's not about how good he is with his weapon. The challenge is deeper, more interesting, and the person Luke could conceivably beat in a duel gives way before the more nefarious villain who requires a different type of strength entirely to defeat.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seven

    Annotation time! So, one of the things I worry about (maybe too much) in an extended series like this is something I'll call Skelletor Syndrome. This is the problem that the protagonists need victories through the course of the series--the text will naturally build to important moments, and while there will be failures, there will also be victories.

    The more times an antagonist gets defeated, however, the less of a threat they become in the reader's mind. It's hard to justify to the reader that a villain is still a credible threat after they've been foiled time and time again. (Kylo Ren ran into this problem, for example, in the new Star Wars series.)

    Going into the Stormlight Archive, this is why I staggered the threats moving from non-supernatural antagonists (like Sadeas) toward increasingly dangerous threats. This isn't to say that someone like Ialai couldn't be a credible threat without powers. However, I still felt it best to move on from her as a representation of the antagonists in the earlier part of the series, pointing us toward larger (and more cosmere-aware) threats as the conflict of the books expands. I could easily have had an entire book with a major thread about toppling her little empire on the Shattered Plains, but that would have been too backward looking.

    So in this book, we're pointing away from the Sadeas/Amaram team toward Odium, some individual fused, and several of the cosmere-aware players (Thaidakar and Restares.) Don't worry if those names aren't clear to you on first read--they've been around for a while, but I haven't delved too much into who they are. This book will do so.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    HeWontEatTheHam

    I'm rereading Oathbringer right now, and I'm in chapter 36 (a Dalinar flashback). While reading through it, I noticed Dalinar commenting on a particular flamespren that seemed odd to him.

    Dalinar narrowed his eyes at the flamespren. That one did have a sword. A miniature Shardblade.

    Knowing that it's almost never a coincidence when we encounter a strange spren, it got me wondering; we don't know what a Dustbringer spren looks like, but it feels like it would make perfect sense if Ashspren looked like flamespren. This led me down a really interesting line of thought:

    Would the Blackthorn have been a Dustbringer?

    Now that we know that Dustbringers are all about self-mastery and channeling their incredible power, wouldn't that be a really interesting path for one of the most dangerous (even before he could surgebind) men on Roshar? That idea is just terrifying.

    Maybe his visit to the Nightwatcher disrupted his progress towards becoming a Dustbringer and led him down a different path?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. :)

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    AutumnWell

    I was itching for a long time to know how much more will we get to know about Heralds in comparison to the previous books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're not going to get a ton about the Heralds until the back five books, but this one (book four) has more about them than any previous novel so far.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapters Four and Five

    Here's an annotation for these chapters! One of the most revised sequences of this book were these Shallan chapters--continuing through the entire novel. As I have said elsewhere, I originally designed Shallan's mental state to be a more fantastical look at something like Dissociative Identity Disorder. (Like the fantastical look at Schizophrenia I did with Stephen Leeds.)

    I was fascinated by how something like mental health challenges relating to identity would intersect with magic that let you quite literally become someone else. The original version of this was for a character I wrote in Dragonsteel--which I'll eventually release to the public like I've done with TWOK Prime.

    In this series, however, I've found myself leaning away from the fantastical elements more and more, and trying to lean into the real science and best mental health practices. This is because I've realized that having Shallan's ailment be completely fantastical was both irresponsible (in representation terms) and less realistic. Where I settled earlier in the series was in representing not someone with a fantastical disease, but someone with a very real disease--that is exacerbated by fantastical elements.

    Because of this, I listened very hard to my beta readers on Shallan, particularly those with specific experience in this area. In the original draft of these scenes, for example, Shallan wasn't shifting between the various alters of herself nearly as often--and with some feedback, I tweaked that, and found it not only worked better in a realism way, but it also read far, far better. It's simply more interesting to see Shallan's different aspects doing different things, thinking different ways.

    Some of the most satisfying moments in revisions come when you try something different, and find that it's what you wanted to do all along--but didn't quite know how to accomplish until a comment nudges you.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    JuakoHawk

    I'm sorry, but I cannot help but wonder if throughout the book [Rhythm of War] we will get more answers about this in-between year.

    I want to know how or where all these Edgedancers come from, for example, because it's a huge jump between "there are only 7 Radiants we know about, and Kaladin and Shallan are training more" to "a whole Order coming out the ship and being advanced in their Ideals and forming like a healer batallion."

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do give a little context, but at the same time, I think the previous books have set this up well. We've followed in close detail how a Windrunner initiated his oaths, found a group of squires, and then started an order. We got the same for a Lightweaver. In the story chronology, that all happened in a span not so different from the year between.

    Because we don't have any major viewpoint Edgedancers or Stonewards in these five books, I have to leave most of this to the imagination--as you can take the model of Kaladin and Shallan, then extrapolate from comments mentioning that this sort of thing was happening all across the world, not just at the Shattered Plains.

    I think the narrative leads you to the answers that connect this all. I do try to give some additional mentions of what was happening through the story, though I don't know if I'll explain enough for what you're asking here.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapters One to Three

    So, for a little commentary on these chapters, you might find it interesting that I plotted this opening sequence as if it were a climax section of a book. In the Stormlight novels, I generally limit myself to one viewpoint a chapter. This is to give a stronger identity to the chapters and characters--we usually get big chunks from a person's viewpoint (with chapters that average two or three times as long as chapters from something like Wax and Wayne or Skyward.) This gives each chapter a kind of short-story feel with their own arcs and themes.

    However, as I approach climactic sections of books, I bleed the viewpoints across one another, adding to the frantic feel of a building crescendo. Viewpoints alternate in quick succession, with bite-sized chunks, hooks and payoffs, like one might plot closer to what you'd see in a thriller novel. The goal here is to evoke quick scene changes, lots of twists and turns, and a general sense that viewpoints are piling up on top of one another to enhance the feeling of an impending climax.

    In a normal stormlight book, I generally start slow and build to such a climax near the end of part one. (Though I usually don't start the full viewpoint bleeds until the end of the book.) Here, I wanted to give the feeling that the year that passed had its own narrative arc, and some of those threads were culminating here. So we're beginning the book at the end of the "previous book" (imagining the in-between year as a "book."

    That led to some confusion and consternation among alpha and beta readers, since this isn't how a Stormlight book generally begins--but in this case, I decided I was all right with that feeling, as this truly was the tone I wanted starting out.

    Skyward Three Updates ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Skyward Three Update One

    Hey, all. Brandon here with my first of a series of updates on the Skyward series. This post does not contain spoilers for the first two books, other than mentions of the structure of the series, but the comments could very well include them. So reader beware.

    First off, a note about where I'm posting this update. I'm aware that /r/skyward not only exists, but is actually about the books. (I am surprised, as I anticipated such a common word having already had a subreddit for it when the series started.) Me posting here is not a suggestion that /r/skyward is an unworthy subreddit. I heartily suggest people help that subreddit grow and have fun with the discussion there.

    However, for my shorter series, I think I'd prefer to post updates on a general interest subreddit. So, for the time being, you can expect Stormlight updates to go to its subreddit, Mistborn updates to go to its subreddit, but all other updates to be split between /r/cosmere (for cosmere stories, obviously) and this subreddit. I think that will make it easier for people to track where I'll be posting.

    Finally, if the mods would rather I not co-opt this subreddit for posts like this, let me know. I'd be happy to post them to my user profile instead, as I don't want to derail this subreddit or take over conversations.

    That said, it's time to talk about Skyward. As is common for me with a series like this, I had an idea of where the series was going when I wrote the first book--but didn't sit down and codify the entire series until it was time to write the second novel. Like what happened with Wax and Wayne, Skyward became four books when I did this, as I realized the story I wanted to tell worked better as four volumes: a stand-alone solo book to kick off the series followed by a more in-depth trilogy digging deeper into lore and characters.

    The good news is that the outline for Skyward Three, which I wrote back in summer 2018, is in really solid shape. I only need to make minor updates to account for things I changed/tweaked while writing book two. I officially started work on the outline today, and anticipate spending about a week doing these updates.

    From there, I'll need to stop and do a revision on the Stormlight Novella from the kickstarter. I anticipate starting the actual writing for Skyward Three on October first. The book should be roughly 100k words, maybe a little longer. Generally, I can count on 8-10k words a week of solid writing.

    If all goes well, then, the rough draft should be finished January 1st. I'll try to do a second update sometime in November to let you know how it's going. If I turn in the book January 1st, I should be able finish the fifth draft by summer (depending on editorial and beta reader feedback) and have the book out around a year from November. But that's just a guess, not a promise.

    Thanks, all, for your patience on this one. Stormlight books take a huge bite out of my time--justifiably so, but it does mean everything else has to arrange around those novels. I'm sorry to make Skyward skip a year as a result, particularly since it ends on a cliffhanger. But hopefully I can get books three and four to you all in 2021 and 2022, with no further interruptions.

    As always, I won't be having replies from this post sent to my inbox. I apologize if I don't see your comment as a result.

    Brandon

    General Twitter 2020 ()
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    Nanotyrannus

    How much continental surface is covered in the maps of Scadrial (Era 1) and Roshar compared to Earth continents?

    Isaac Stewart

    Scadrial's map isn't completely canonized yet, so answering could be a bit spoilery, but I believe Brandon has said that most of Roshar is ocean.

    General Twitter 2020 ()
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    Code4Medic

    Since you made the Alethi script for Stormlight. I'm curious if it is a phonetical transcription or alphabetical. Specifically with the -tion letter/sound. Would it be spelled as is or pronounced?

    Isaac Stewart

    Alethi script is mostly alphabetical. English speakers would just spell -tion.

    General Twitter 2020 ()
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    Yata

    I have the doubt about RoW's Epigraphs. The 9-10's Epigraphs explains how pewter/tin allows to build amplifiers/diminishers but then it moves to Steel and Iron (metals never mentioned yet) cages for adv design. Is the epigraph right or is there an error in it?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    No error.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Haverworthy

    Just had a question, when a Returned consumes a Breath, is it a property of their body that does so or the Divine Breath itself? It's been contentious in the community. If it's specifically just their body and a hemalurgist were to spike a Divine Breath as indicated was possible here*, would the hemalurgist not need to consume a weekly breath?

    *https://wob.coppermind.net/events/364/#e11389

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a very interesting question. The thing that requires the Returned to continue gaining investiture is their nature as cognitive shadows--they are dead, and in this case, need a power source to continue persisting in the physical realm. The Divine Breath is part of this. Imagine the Divine Breath as the thing that Infuses their soul, making it persist initially, and then and sticks it to the body. So if you stole it, but you yourself were not in need of being kept alive, I would say that you wouldn't need to be fed a new breath each week to maintain the Divine Breath.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Yoitsthew

    Are there any deserts on Roshar, and if so could the white sand organism spread? Just imagining how sand mastery might possibly migrate to Roshar lol.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The White Sand organism could spread on Scadrial, and on any planet, but it would need investiture to do so. It would be easier for it to spread on Roshar, for example, because of the storms.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Yoitsthew

    Would a Lerasium/Atium alloy create a Feruchemist, rather than an atium misting?? What with the way that it’s an alloy of god metals, and the way that lerasium can be used to acquire other magics? As far as I know there is no lerasium left currently, so this one is also just for my curiosity!!

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can use the god metals from Scadrial to make a Feruchemist, but I have to RAFO the actual means.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Yoitsthew

     Theoretically, would it be possible to form a new shard from splinters of multiple other Shards? Could I have posses enough investiture from Honor, Cultivation, and/or Odium and effectively become Unity, without holding the entirety of those shards?? I’m really just curious haha.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What you want here is theoretically possible, but more difficult than it sounds.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    ZuperzubS

    Hi Brandon, just to double check my understanding of things, Odium is still mostly bound on Braize right? Just that he can influence things on Roshar because of proximity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I treat Braize, Ashyn, and Roshar as if they were almost one entity for a lot of Identity/Connection related issues. It's more than proximity, though proximity leads to it. We on Earth, I feel, would consider the moon and even Mars to be "ours" so to speak, part of our family of planets. Odium's binding, and that of the heralds/fused encompasses Roshar and Ashyn. There are some subtle distinctions, but for the most part, being bound on Braize is the same as being bound on Roshar.

    mraize7

    So Shadesmar is only from Roshar or from the three planets??

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can reach all three through Shadesmar, with a much shorter trip than to other systems. But the map we provide so far is only Roshar.

    Phantine

    Have you come up with a name for their star? It'd be easier to refer to all three by calling it the [???]ar/[sol]ar system instead of the Rosharan/[earth]an system like we do now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    By people in world, it's being referred to as the Rosharan system. This is kind of confusing to us, because we focus on the suns to orient what makes a system. But in the cosmere, they travel directly to planets, and so the biggest trading planet becomes the source of naming conventions in most places. I agree it's a little confusing for us, but I believe it's the way it would naturally arise for them.

    Uth-gnar

    On the topic of the Rosharan solar system, do we get to learn about the significance of the 10 gas giants? We’re they there before the shards ever made their home there? Is that the ‘origin’ of the significance, in the context of the cosmere's natural laws?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, I'm afraid.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Vanahian

    Brandon has said that the Ashynite Disease-Based Magic was related with the Old Magic. Did he mean it in a direct way? Like this magic from Ashyn was a branch or a variety of the Old Magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do have to RAFO this, for the most part. Suffice it to say that the disease magic is related to a symbiotic bond between spren-like investiture and microorganisms.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    lupicorn

    Hi Brandon,

    I was wondering about how color-based magic like Soulcasters would work before the terms that define the colors existed. I know the Spiritual Realm is supposed to be associated with color and sound (maybe due to the mathematical basis of wavelengths?), but it doesn't seem like the exact wavelengths of the gemstones used in Soulcasters matter as much as whether they're understood as being specific colors. Does the existence of a color category precede the existence of a distinct magical effect or would the effect exist regardless? Like, before the language of the first inhabitants of the Rosharan system had words to differentiate between green and yellow would heliodors and emeralds have produced the same effect? Or smokestone and amethyst before the existence of the blue category?

    I have a feeling the answer is going to be similar to why the Bands of Mourning couldn't be used before they were known to be the Bands of Mourning but I thought I'd ask.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, the color theory things in a lot of the cosmere are deeply integrated with the ideas of perception. I've mentioned before that some gemstones, for example, are nearly identical chemically, but are different colors--and so work differently in the magic. This is about perceptions.

    Linguistics certainly has a hand in shaping our perceptions of things. And so yes, the direction you're theorizing here has merit, but I'm going to have to RAFO details for now.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twelve

    This is the last we'll see of Rock in the book, I'm afraid. I really hope to be able to do the Rock novella sometime in the next few years to trace his course, but one of the things I forced myself to do in this series is keep the focus on the main storylines and characters.

    Epic fantasy tends to involve ballooning casts, and this tends to derail books as the author lets their focus move away from the primary storyline toward side characters. I put some rigid requirements on myself when I started Stormlight that require me to move side stories out of the main narrative. It's odd to be talking about trying to keep books this length "lean" but I believe one of the strengths of the series is that it has (so far) kept its eye on the proverbial goal. This is more important than ever, with book five being the end of the first sequence.

    That said, what we're witnessing here is kind of the end of Bridge Four as a cohesive entity, at least as it existed in the series up until now. I was sad, for all the fun of this chapter, to be moving into this sequence of the stories. There was a temptation, of course, to just let Bridge Four continue to be Bridge Four--but it wouldn't feel right. Lives change and evolve. My tight-knit friend group from college can never be the same again, not now that we all have families and jobs. Bridge Four couldn't remain the same either.

    One of my problems with some forms of media like extended network television shows is the format's inability to let the status of the characters evolve, change, and grow. For a series like this, we need progression, and we need to let Bridge Four become something else. If we're sad about the changes, the early books will always be there to experience again.

    As for the Kaladn/Adolin/Shallan interactions, I actively look for moments like these to put into the novels. It's important to let the characters live, and one of the reasons I enjoy epic fantasy is that it (with the space afforded me) allows for more time like this.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Doc_John (paraphrased)

    Hey! If you had the correct Intent in mind, could you Command a Lifeless to follow a Knight's Radiant Ideal? Like could you command it to "Protect those who cannot protect themselves"

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, this would be possible, though it would depend on the Lifeless and circumstances on how good a job they do at it. The command is a little abstract, and could end up not working as well as you want it to.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Haylo_Alex

    You've said before that Soulcasting can't create Atium or Lerasium which makes sense since they're made of Investiture from other Shards. But could a Soulcaster, perhaps in the proximity of Dalinar's perpendicularity, provide enough Stormlight to Soulcast something into Honor's Godmetal (Tanavastium)? What about Cultivation's metal, or an alloy of both, like Shardblade metal?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, creating a God Metal is not something that's done easily in the Cosmere. HOWEVER, it is possible. You'd need a ton of Investiture, and being near Dalinar's perpendicularity is unlikely to be enough. I'd say Soulcasting, or something akin to it, has the means to do this if it could obtain the proper power charge.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Nameles36

    Does Lift need to poop?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lift's system is more efficient than that of a normal persons in this particular area. Less poop, almost none. (I imagine it being like that one guy who didn't eat for a year, surviving off of body fat.)

    Nameles36

    Why does Lift get hungry after converting food to Stormlight? If you don't need to breathe while holding Stormlight because it sustains your body, why would you need to eat?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Her body is a little confused at times. That's part of it. Also, she just has a psychological response to eating, like many of us do.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    celestialwolf157

    By the way, Kaladin's comment on Taln and Shalash's mental health makes me wonder: Are the Ten Fools based on the Heralds after they broke the Oathpact? Having 9 immortal, mentally ill people on Roshar for millenia seems like it'd have spawned some stories that could have eventually become stories of the Ten Fools. Taln wouldn't be included in this, but with Vorinism and the number 10, I imagine they'd have created something to oppose his virtues.

    Also, I can't remember if this is confirmed or not, but on the topic of the Heralds' mental health, is it at all supernatural? Taln seemed to recover somewhat when Dalinar summoned the perpendicularity at the end of Oathbringer. So, is it just severe PTSD, or something supernatural is involved?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've tried to make it clear in talking about the books that I separate what has happened to the Heralds and normal mental health. What they're suffering from is in large part supernatural--and has to do with the way souls (or Cognitive Shadows) work in the cosmere. So you are correct. This doesn't mean that some normal treatments wouldn't help them, but their core problem has a huge supernatural component.

    And yes, there IS a relationship between the ten fools and the Heralds, though people on Roshar wouldn't be able to point it out.

    mastapsi

    Is the Heralds' madness related to and/or the same thing as the Fused's madness? The Stormfather mentions that each time one of the Fused is reborn, their mind is further damaged. Is it the same with the Herald? To many rebirths, possibly compounded by the fact that they not only often died each Desolation, but were tortured until the next one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, these two things are related. (There are some hints in Rhythm of War at how Hoid has avoided a similar fate.)

    Note that the torture--and the many rebirths--are a big part of this. But their age is also a factor.

    3DLightweaver

    Does this mean that a certain cognitive shadow from the Mistborn series is fated to go insane?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on a lot of factors. But the longer a cognitive shadow exists, the more likely these problems are.

    dce42

    Would this affect the Returned as well? What about those with a lot (like 8,000) breaths since they are not cognitive shadows.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Returned are cognitive shadows. In the Cosmere, there is no way to bring someone back to life, other than normal medical resuscitation, without using a cognitive shadow.

    Stromeng

    What about Dalinar? I thought he has had textbook PTSD, but the screams he continued to hear turned out to be magic.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dalinar has a whole host of issues, not easily defined by a single definition. Assume, though, that his mental state is a normal response to, in part, supernatural occurrences.

    The different for the Heralds is that they have conditions which could only truly exist in the cosmere, even if some of the manifestations and symptoms are similar to what could happen on Earth.

    Stonewalker16

    So is that implying that Hoid is a cognitive shadow, or is that just an effect of being really really old? Also does Vasher know about/how to avoid these effects? Probably an RAFO, but...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Come back to that question in about a month or so.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    rektosaurusd

    Also, is there anyone in the Cosmere I could make for X?!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmm. Xisis. He'll show up eventually.

    CephandriusTW

    I have just seen this and I'm curious. Is there any information about Xisis that you could give us before entering RAFO territory?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not human, from Yolen, currently hanging out on a planet quite near to where you can find a lot of the aethers.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    asmodeus

    The humans on Roshar have a lot of holdover terms from... before, like chicken, soil, wine, etc.

    Is "mink" another of those holdover terms, where they are calling something a mink that we may call something else?

    Is it, mayhaps, actually a lion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, minks actually are one of the mammals who managed to get a foothold on Roshar, so they know what minks are. (They are mentioned other places in the text.) Good question, though!

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Erik02847

    I’m on my 3rd or fourth reread of the Stormlight Archive this year, and I noticed the runaway comment that certain animals are farmed in order to produce meat via using their gemhearts for Soulcasting. We know as of Oathbringer that Soulcaster’s have a tendency to become what they Soulcast when they become savants. This lead me to question, how does that work for meat Soulcasters? Do they just become more meaty than a regular human? If so what does that even look like? Just some random questions that I haven’t seen discussed anywhere else.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO for now, more for the fact that I'm low on time. But I'll talk about this some day.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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    Lauren

    If you found yourself as an apprentice in the Cosmere, who would you like as a mentor figure and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh boy, who would I like as a mentor figure and why. I would probably pick someone boring in Silverlight, because I do not necessarily want to be involved in the great workings of the Cosmere because there is a lot of danger involved in that. I would stay far away from Hoid. Khriss would not be bad but she gets into a lot of dangerous situations, and I'm not sure that I would recommend letting her get you into those situations. How about that.

    So yeah. There you go. Vasher - definitely right out. Don't be near Vasher if you value not getting your soul sucked into a dangerous black sword.

    But, you know, I'm not sure if I could come up with a name. If I have to name - somebody that is going to be named... Maybe Vstim. You know, he was a good mentor and yeah, he travelled a lot, but he was really careful. Granted, he did have his apprentice jump off a greatshell's head, but that was more her fault than his. I think he would take really good care of an apprentice. And he knows his way around, so he's a pretty good mentor.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    You can read Aether of Night. I gave that to 17th Shard to give away to people. You can read the e-book of that.

    White Sand and Aether of Night are readable books. They both have big problems. Aether of Night has the problem that it feels like two different books. There's like, a romantic comedy happening at the same time as a dire war and invasion by dark forces, and the two books don't really work well together. It's like a Shakespearean mistaken identity romantic comedy going on opposite that.

    White Sand just has the problem that it's about thirty percent too long, overwritten for what the plot actually is. We fixed that when making it a graphic novel, but some people like the prose version instead, so you can get that and read it. White Sand is canon to the Cosmere with the tweaks made to the graphic novel. I don't ever intend to rewrite White Sand, though I do intend to someday have other things happening on that world. So that one is canon. Aether of Night is not, even though there's a Shardpool and a Shard in it. The events that are happening in that book are not canon. Aethers are - you've seen them pop up here and there. But the actual events of the story aren't.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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    Hannah

    If video games existed in the cosmere, which current cosmere character that we know would be the best gamer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Best gamer? Um...

    Adam Horne

    I want to see if your statement is the same as mine.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Whew, best gamer? Who wants to sit down and game?

    Adam Horne

    That's going outside of mine, my character probably would not want to, but I think they'd be very good at it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Very good at gaming, very good at gaming... Lift.

    Adam Horne

    Oh, Lift would probably enjoy it. Mine is Sazed because he can store his speed and stuff.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Sazed would be technically, you're right, would be way, way better. I don't know if Wayne could slow time and put in inputs and then they would come out, I don't know how that would work.

    Adam Horne

    Is the tv outside of his bubble?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, the tv would have to be outside of his bubble. How would that work?

    Adam Horne

    What happens to a wireless signal when it hits the bubble?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wireless signal is going to have a red shift. Physicist, what happens if a red shift happens? As I understand it, that actually wouldn't change it appreciably, but we'd let a physicist say on that. Regardless, yeah, Sazed would definitely have a big leg up. That's a very good answer.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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    Questioner

    Do you ever feel limited by the commitment you've made with the massive writing of the Cosmere, or is there enough variety within the Cosmere to keep you happy and feel like you have some flexibility to do what you want to do with your writing ideas and preferences, especially as they change.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The answer is no. Fortunately, I designed the Cosmere as the thing I wanted to do, and I had essentially been writing the Cosmere for like, eight books before I sold. So I knew pretty well that I would have enough flexibility and things like this.

    I am very excited by large-scale continuity connections between stories - watching eras come and pass in epic story-lines and things like that. I've never felt constrained by it. If anything, once in a while I feel constrained by contracts coming at the wrong time when I'm super excited by something else - like when a deadline is coming due and I'm like "I need to get off of this and write this other thing".And that's just a matter of - it's a function of the popularity that we enjoy that I've talked about before. I think that if I were - I'm not going to go back to this, but when I were a little less popular, the publishers would sit on books for like, two and a half years after I turned them in, to find the right place to publish them, or the right time. The bottom-line of the entire company was not appreciably affected by my book releasing.

    Nowadays, the bottom-lines of companies are appreciably affected by my books releasing, so they don't sit on them. You don't turn in a Stormlight book and have it come out two and a half years later. Fans would probably have a heart attack if they knew we were doing that. But what it meant was that this buffer that I had vanished unexpectedly out from underneath us and so suddenly everything I'm writing is at the last moment that it could get - the last possible moment for it to be turned in, to be published, is generally when it's getting turned in. And this is just because people are really excited to get the books out. What that means is that things will happen where it's like, in an ideal world I don't think I would have gone straight from Rhythm of War into Dawnshard. It turned out to be okay because I was writing different characters, but I really like space between books in the same series as a way to refresh myself, and ideally I would have written the next Skyward book and maybe the next Wax and Wayne book and then done Dawnshard and then written the next Skyward book, and then come back to Stormlight.

    But that just wasn't possible because of the timelines that I've set out. Dawnshard really needs to be out before Rhythm of War comes out, and because of that tight deadline then I'm on another tight deadline, which now means that writing the next Skyward book has to happen next because my YA publisher has been waiting very patiently without a book for quite a while, and while I probably would want to go to Wax and Wayne 4 next because I've been away from that even longer, Wax and Wayne 4 is for the same publisher that's now publishing Rhythm of War and they've got plenty to do and are plenty busy, and I need to get something to the other publisher.

    These sorts of things are the annoyances of the reality of being a professional writer, but I never feel constrained by the Cosmere. I've never felt constrained by "Oh I promised ten Mistborn books or whatever" (30 seconds of figuring out how many Mistborn books. 13?)

    So do I feel constrained by that? No I feel excited by that. That's never been an issue. Do I feel constrained by the fact that I really need to get Skyward 3 and 4 and Wax and Wayne done in time to get back to Stormlight 5 to have Stormlight 5 come out on a reasonable timescale - that, I do feel constrained by.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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    Questioner

    Nadia wants to know if we've kicked around the idea for publishing an illustrated version of the Stormlight Archive, or some sort of guide with illustrations.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. We've kicked around the idea of a world guide, which is pretty common in epic fantasy. George has some, Wheel of Time had the Big White Book as it was called, the guide to the Wheel of Time, and then following that, an encyclopedia. I could imagine doing world guides like that with lots of artwork and things like that for various Cosmere worlds.

    I would not want to do it for Stormlight until book 5 is done, because then you've got kind of an - book 5 will wrap up the first major arc, and it would just be a good time for something like that as a companion to the first five books, but we haven't talked about it really seriously ever, just because we have so many projects on our plate that this one - just not one we've gotten around to.

    And plus, you know, they tend to take a ton of work, or, conversely, a ton of randomness. I know the people who worked on the Big White Book for Wheel of Time, and they're very proud of it and they did some very good work. But a lot of the fans were disappointed for the artwork quality for some of the pieces in the Big White Book, and that's always been kind of a warning cry to me, that if you're expecting artwork like we have in the end-pages for the Stormlight Archive all the way through it - that's a lot of work, and involves a lot of Isaac's time, and so we would have to find a time when he is excited to do it, or that we can, you know, talk Ben McSweeney into doing that himself, or something like that.

    So yeah, it's on the table, but I wouldn't expect it soon.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Favna

    Is it some inside joke that Ben Olsen didn't want to be bridge 4? I'm very curious what led up to it. If you can share that's be awesome.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. He's a long time member of my writing group, and a good friend. If you watch the stream I did with Dan Wells a few weeks ago, Ben crashes the party and we tell stories about how he insists that none of us put him in our books--something that we kind of follow, and kind of don't.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Jurble

    Dear Mr. Sanderson,

    Given the motivation per the books that the Knights believed they were giving up their Surgebinding powers to prevent the destruction of Roshar à la Ashyn, in practical terms how did e.g. Windrunners break their bonds?

    Since they believed they were doing the right (honorable) thing wouldn't simply deciding "I'm breaking my oaths for the good of Roshar" not damage the bond (especially if Fifth Ideal Windrunners have [attitude] similar to Nale's comment regarding his bond)? Or can one break the bond by force of will or decision as opposed to betraying oaths in a practical sense?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is an explanation to give here, but it would have spoilers for Rhythm of War and Book Five, so I'll RAFO for now. Ask me in about three years and four months.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    LewsTherinTelescope

     In Rithmatist, is the 4th of July still their American Independence Day, with the alternate history?

    Related question, is there a mechanical reason for inception being the 4th, or is it just cultural?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Cultural. And yes, July fourth is still an important day though they might call it something else, with the monarchy being in exile in the colonies.

    LewsTherinTelescope

    Thanks! Are you willing to say why it's important in their world, or is that something where I'll have to RAFO?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's RAFO for now, as that world is in limbo for right now, and I'm not sure one hundred percent where I'll go.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Ben McSweeney

    In the final design (as seen in the 10th anniversary WoK) the front row of bridgemen run with the front lip of the bridge, fully exposing them to arrow fire as described in the text.

    Fun fact: Parshendi and humans both use a specific type of shalebark leaf to fletch arrows, similar to wooden fletching. Various types of chicken scales are, of course, very rare and much too expensive for fletching. This does lead to accuracy issues.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Wantsometrufflesmate

    Nale’s nuts sounds like something a world hopper would say...... I mean there aren’t any nut producing plants on Roshar so how would. (Someone’s) nuts be a saying?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In these cases, you should assume one of two things.

    1. It's a linguistic holdover. I like using a lot of these in Stormlight. Human languages still have a lot of terms in them that reference the world they used to live on. (See Hoid's discussion of the word "hound" in one of the books.)

    2. We're doing our best to translate into English a phrase that doesn't really work in our language.

    Basically, whichever is easier for your suspension of disbelief. With this, I'd say it's likely they said "Nale's Rockbuds" but it's just awkward in English, so when the book was changed from Alethi to English, the translator (me) picked something that conveyed the same meaning.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Michael Whelan

    Just to clarify some misconceptions I've seen in Stormlight Archive discussions. That's not Dalinar on the cover of THE WAY OF KINGS.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Huh. I've been told (granted, second hand) that he intended it to be Dalinar and Eshonai--but then again, he wasn't as familiar with the series when he did that cover as he is now. He's mentioned before he wished he'd made the cloak blue.

    TaakosWizardForge

    Is it possible Whelan could make those adjustments and a reprint can go out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think it's unlikely. Book covers aren't generally meant to be illustrations of the events of the book, and more a "poster" to give the right feel to those looking to pick it up. That's doubly true for a first book in a series. So I don't feel it needs tweaks, though it is a little confusing here and there.

    MammothMan34

    For me, it's only a bit confusing in hindsight, since the subsequent three books have obviously portrayed named characters.

    Selfishly, despite my love of the Way of Kings cover, I hope the not Dalinar-ness maintains so that he might be more pronounced on a future cover. He's my favorite and I am greedy for more.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think a Dalinar cover will be appropriate for the next book, so there's a very good chance that's the way we go.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    AndrenNoraem

    /u/mistborn I know it's in cremposting, but [a cookbook] is an exciting idea and I'd love to hear whether it's something you'd consider.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would take a lot of work to come up with a full cookbook. But it's something people have joked about before, so I don't know. Maybe if the films/TV shows get big enough, we could do something like this?

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Six

    So, this little sequence with Kaladin, the lurgs, and tricking Leshwi was one I was VERY close to cutting from the book. Thing is, this battle between them has been going on pretty long at this point, and my gut says I've done a little too much of "Kaladin chases and fights someone through the air" in these chapters.

    I looked long and hard, therefore, at trimming this sequence for pacing reasons. In the end, I left it, and I don't know 100% if it was the right choice or not. I like how it gives a different kind of interaction for Kaladin on the battlefield here, and how it hearkens back to the flashback from book one with Tien.

    I opted, instead, to trim more extensively through the whole combat--taking out words and sentences, rather than this entire scene. But it was a tough call. And even in the very last revision, I went back and forth on it. If I'd been forced to trim something here to make a film come in at the right time, this part would have gone--but one of the luxuries of writing epic fantasy in novel form is that I can be a little more self-indulgent. (So long as I don't let myself go too far.)

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Headpat_Thot

    The Reshi King from Rysn's interlude is probably trans. This statement is based on a few points

    1: Everybody but Rysn (who's whole thing is that she's extremely green and unaware of the world) uses He/Him pronouns to refer to the reshi king.

    2: When Rysn first meets the king, She genders him as a man, until she notices that he has breasts. This suggests that he has taken measures to present more masculine.

    3: When Rysn refuses to call the king "king" his son loses his temper and tries to send her away. Up until then, he had been firm, but that was the point where he outright tells her to leave.

    There is one line in the text where The king's son says "gender is irrelevant" in response to a question Rysn has about the king's gender.

    I will say that this was written before the Author stopped using Gender and Sex interchangeably according to the WoB database.

    Beyond that, I doubt the language they were speaking (thaylen) would have a robust understanding of sex and gender.

    Credar

    /u/mistborn was this your intention with the scene if you can confirm it? Or was it more the Egyptian style Hatshepsut-like others are mentioning?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I love Hatshepsut as an interesting quirk of history, and have long thought about ways to incorporate something similar. I did have that partially in mind when I was writing this, but more in the way that the culture was trying to understand him, rather than his own view of himself.

    The king sees himself as male, and wishes to be treated that way--not just in title. In fact, in the coming months, you will see this character again briefly in some scenes I've already written, if you keep an eye out.

    Jacky_Ragnarovna

    ooh are we going back to the Reshi Isles? Will we get a beach episode?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. RAFO. :)