Recent entries

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #10004 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 ()
    #10006 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 ()
    #10008 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 ()
    #10009 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 ()
    #10010 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 ()
    #10011 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 ()
    #10012 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 ()
    #10013 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 ()
    #10014 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 ()
    #10018 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.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #10019 Copy

    sherlockeb

    Why did Rashek feel the need to create skaa and nobility, why not alter all humanity to be nobles if you have the power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rashek, particularly back then, was a petty man. This caused him to do many things that, strictly speaking, were not best for his empire.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #10021 Copy

    Arthrine

    I remember reading some time ago that a fan told you about a dream of hers to be a minor character in one of your books, and that you fulfilled this dream for her.

    Any chance of you doing a raffle on /r/fantasy, and letting the winner get the same opportunity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I should totally do this. In the past, I've done it for charity, so maybe during a drive for Worldbuilders?

    The character, by the way, is Lyn the scout from Words of Radiance.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
    #10022 Copy

    gauzemajig

    Do you think you'll ever go outside of the established raunchiness of your books? I don't mean a murder sex party, but you know, straying a bit into the dark and gritty. It's just my opinion but I feel like you play it a little safe. Not necessarily a bad thing though!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think I've crossed the line where I'm personally comfortable doing, but I think I'm close. Usually, I give a few characters (like Wayne) the ability to go further than others, as an acknowledgement that there are good people out there who don't happen to have my same prudish nature.

    I think the thing you'll see that is the closest is when (and if) I write the Threnody novel.

    For everything else, you'll have to settle for knowing that one of my quirks as a writer is that I do indeed play it a little safe--and probably will always do so. I'm very aware that my children, nieces, and nephews read my books. Beyond that, I feel that I'm an intentional and specific contrast to other writers in the genre--I consider it my duty to prove that (like many of the classic movies) you can write something that is for adults, and has depth, without delving into grittiness.

    This is not a disparagement of people like Joe Abercrombie, who I think is an excellent writer, or others like him--and I'm glad we have them in the field. However, my own path goes a different direction, and I think it's important that I also publish, proving to those who perhaps wish to be more circumspect in these areas that there is a place for them in the genre too.

    Xluxaeternax

    Does that mean that you recognize that the stories that take place on Threnody, a world of your creation, are stories that you are uncomfortable exploring because they are too harsh or intense? If that's the case I find that absolutely fascinating and very impressive- it's almost as if the cosmere is a real place with real people and you're just communicating their stories to us. I personally would rather you never told those stories instead of forcing them to be something that is untrue to what you created them to be.

    Brandon Sanderson

    A writer must be willing to do uncomfortable things; I fully believe that. Stories like Snapshot (my most recent novella) have done this before, and if I write the Threnody novel, I intend to do it well. (But also be very clear to audiences that it's darker than other cosmere books.)

    It's not about intensity--I feel other books are intense. Or even about violence or darkness. It's about how far the narrative needs to delve into these things, or the relationship of light and hope to the darkness.

    Dalinar's backstory in Stormlight is uncomfortably dark, and I won't pull punches from it. But it's balanced by the man he has become. In Threnody, some of the stories don't have that balance.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10026 Copy

    mysteriouspenguin

    You said that there are ten major Shardworlds. Are Threnody and First of the Sun (planets without shards) part of those ten? What other Shardworlds we know about are not part of the ten?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know if I've said specifically, but I think I've implied that neither one are major worlds for the storytelling narrative. (Though Threnody is more important by far.) I believe that I've mentioned the others all being major factors in the story.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10027 Copy

    mysteriouspenguin

    What is the structure of the Cosmere like? i.e. What planets are in which systems orbiting what stars in what galaxy. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    We'll produce a map of this eventually. Right not, it's not terribly relevant. (Though in books, you can occasionally pick out some cosmological feature seen from different planets.) The stars are very close on a galactic scale--part of a dwarf galaxy.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10029 Copy

    sjhock

    The stars Vin sees from Scadrial are the same as the stars as can be seen on Threnody, yes? Would Taln's Scar or the Tear from Roshar also be visible from other Cosmere worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. But remember that on Scadrial, stars weren't an oft-seen feature in the original trilogy.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10031 Copy

    Tacticus Prime

    Also, what is going on in this chart? Is it all RAFO, or can you hint at anything?

    https://www.brandonsanderson.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/twok_endsheet-rear-2-webres.jpg

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's...I'm sorry, that's a RAFO. But thank you for reading! Answers are coming.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10033 Copy

    Yata

    If a Ferring creates a metalmind and then loses his power (for example through Hemalurgy), could he still use his previous-made metalmind ?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, he could not. And, unfortunately, the person who stole a bit of his soul would probably be keyed with enough Identity to use his metalmind. :( (This is uncertain, though, based on how much of the soul got ripped off, and how much the spike has decayed.)

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10035 Copy

    unknown

    I was wondering how Talenel'Elin is able to speak perfect Alethi without much of an accent at all. I believe Dalinar thought that it was a Northern Alethi accent. He is able to speak perfect Alethi after coming back from Damnation being seemingly isolated for 4500 years. Knowing what we know about language development in the real world over time, wouldn't the Alethi language change as well as to be almost incomprehensible?

    If he is not isolated, I supposed that would venture into RAFO territory.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The language has indeed changed drastically.

    So...RAFO.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10036 Copy

    SydneySedai

    Say an awakener wanted to cheat in a card game and strolled in with an awakened hat, which is promply placed on a hat rack behind their opponent.

    Assuming the awakener knows the rules of the game, would a command like "be as my eyes and signal when I should fold" let the hat tip someone off, or would they need a more general command like "be as my eyes and signal a flush"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is hard because the skill of the Awakener is a factor, as are other elements that aren't entirely understood. For sake of discussion, I'd say the second one is a whole lot more reasonable.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10037 Copy

    ParadoxicalWims

    Could the Heralds be considered the splinters or would it be the Honourblades they once held? Or perhaps are they something else entirely?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO, more because I don't want to dig into the nature of the Heralds until the second five books, and would rather not have people's eyes on them too much right now.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10038 Copy

    i_do_stuff

    And since I love him, I have to sneak an Axies the Collector question in - what kindled his interest in spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Axies belongs to a race who, being extremely long lived, tend to dedicate themselves to some kind of task to keep themselves from going strange. (Well, more strange.) Spren tickled his fancy.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10039 Copy

    Titan_Arum

    If a coinshot were to drop a gold coin of size X or an iron coin of the same size X, would the coin with more mass (the gold coin), under normal circumstances, allow the coinshot to vertically push themselves higher than they could with the coin with less mass (the iron coin)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mass is indeed a factor in anchors.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10040 Copy

    Titan_Arum

    In TWoK, Dalinar mentions that back home Reshi border encroachments grow increasingly bold...according to the map of Roshar, no Reshi islands are directly adjacent to Alethkar. Is this encroachment simply due to Tai-na migrating into Alethi waters and skirmishing with Alethi boats? Or are the Reshi actually sending raiding parties to the mainland?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Alethi have a long history of skirmishing with the Reshi islands just to the north and northeast of Alethkar. (And at various points, they've just considered Herdaz to be an Alethi province.) The fertile fishing up there makes for some coveted seas.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10041 Copy

    L0lbert

    My question is however, is Kelsier influenced by Ruin in some way? Does he have any metal in him? The parts that got me thinking is how he is the one who suggested to Vin that she should keep her earrings in. Futhermore he has a strong urge to kill and destroy, though that is mainly limited to nobility and it is meant to help overthrow the empire. Lasltly there was someone in the last book (I'm afraid I can't remember who right now) who said that Lord Penrod (who at the time was contolled by Ruin) used housewars to destroy the city, which is the exact thing Kelsier did also. I'm sorry if my answer has an obvious answer, or if I've overlooked something, but these points got me to strongly belive that Kelsier was influenced by Ruin.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No metal in Kelsier, though good question. However, he was trained by a man touched by Ruin, and has a certain natural inclination toward destruction and killing. That's all him.

    I've said before that Kelsier, in another story or time, might have become something far more terrible. That's what makes him interesting to me as a character.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10042 Copy

    Ansalem1

    Hypothetically, if all of the Listeners were to go extinct would the Rhythms still exist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    WeiryWriter

    Are there any other species in the cosmere that also interact with the Rhythms like the listeners do? (Though not necessarily in the same way?)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10044 Copy

    EarthRester

    In Warbreaker, the closer an inanimate object is to a humanoid shape, the easier it is to awaken it.

    Hypothetically, say a race of sentient quadrupedal canines had access to BioChromatic Breath. Would they have an easier time awakening objects if they were closer to a canine shape, or is the rule still that it needs to be more humanoid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Closer to canine.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10045 Copy

    Betaflame

    I primarily listen to the books, so my spelling and visual imaging might be a bit off. But, the food that Lopen likes, choutta, is that kind of like a Runza?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Kinda, kinda not.

    They eat flatbread in Roshar--the bread doesn't rise. So in that respect, it's more like a burrito. Only, they roll it more like a cone, and they fill it with chunks of meat covered in gravy. The flavor is going to be more runza like than burrito like, but it's kind of like a pita filled with meatballs.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10046 Copy

    SageOfTheWise

    In Allomancy, normal metals are simply a tool that channels Allomancer's already existing Connection to the power of Preservation, which is why non-Allomancers don't get powers from digesting metal. But if I understand it correctly, god metals are an exception, since they are a form of a Shard's power, burning them directly uses the power stored within.

    If I have this right, how come a normal person can burn lerasium, but not atium? Or could they, and no ones thought to try? But if that was true why are there atium Mistings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Suffice it to say that what people both in the books and out think about the god metals has some holes in it.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10049 Copy

    JediofChrist

    In Alloy, there are those who use both Allomancy and Feruchemy. However, I recall Sazed in The Hero of Ages stating that he believed he was the last surviving Feruchemist (I think he may have said "Keeper"?). Was he incorrect in his assumption of being the last Feruchemist (based on the fact that people use Feruchemy in Alloy) or could Feruchemy have been recessive in some Terris people?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was most certainly recessive. But the specific way Sazed speaks there is important.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #10050 Copy

    ArsenoPyrite

    Is the act of taking up a shard parallel to the act of Awakening? In broad strokes awakening gives a piece of a soul for power along with a purpose or compulsion. So, say, when someone takes up Ruin, are they operating on the same principle, taking a fragment of Adolnasium's 'soul' along with the command "ruin things"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You could make this parallel, and argue it to many of the cosmere-aware scholars in the books, and they'd find themselves nodding.