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    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #10001 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Prologue - Part Three

    Vasher Awakens the Cloak

    He doesn't end up using it. A lot of people point this out. Him not needing it was intentional. I know it raises a question in the prologue, and seems kind of useless, but it's there to give some added depth to the scene and the magic. Plus, it was just a smart thing to do. Awakening the cloak to protect him was a precaution—one that didn't end up being needed, but one of the things that annoys me about books is when every single thing the heroes do ends up being important, useful, or even a hindrance. Sometimes you pack yourself a lunch, but then just don't end up needing it.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #10002 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher Awakens the Straw Figure

    I love how intricate and delicate Vasher is in creating the straw figure. The little eyebrow is a nice touch, and forming the creature into the shape of a person has a nice resonance with our own world's superstitions.

    Voodoo dolls, for instance. This is very common in tribal magics and shamanistic rituals—something in the figure of a person, or the figure of the thing it's supposed to affect, is often seen as being more powerful or more desirable. The same is said for having a drop of blood or a tiny piece of skin, even a piece of hair.

    Those two things—making the doll in the shape of a man and using a bit of his own body as a focus—are supposed to create instant resonance in the magic for those reading it. I think it works, too. Unfortunately, there's a problem with this, much like with the colors above. In later chapters, the characters are generally powerful enough with the magic that they don't have to make things in human shape or use pieces of their own body as a focus.

    If I were to write a sequel to the book (and I just might—more on this later) I'd want to get back to these two aspects of the magic. Talk about them more, maybe have characters who have smaller quantities of Breath, and so need to use these tricks to make their Awakening more powerful.

    Anyway, this little scene threw all kinds of problems into the book. Later on, I had to decide if I wanted to force the characters to always make things into the shape of a person before Awakening them. That proved impossible, it was too limiting on the magic and interfered with action sequences. The same was true for using bits of their own flesh as focuses. It just didn't work.

    I toyed with cutting these things from the prologue. (Again, they are artifacts from the short story I wrote, back when Awakening wasn't fully developed yet.) However, I like the resonance they give, and think they add a lot of depth to the magic system.

    So I made them optional. They're things that you can do to make your Awakenings require fewer Breaths. That lets me have them for resonance, but not talk about them when I don't need them. I still worry that they set up false expectations for the magic, however.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #10003 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Guard Approaches, and His Clothing Becomes Brighter

    This is an essential part of the magic system. When you get close to someone's aura, their clothing—and everything else about them—brightens in color slightly. It's important to show it in this prologue.

    Unfortunately, it also shouldn't be there. You see, Vasher should be smart enough to hide his Breath in his clothing, as the book later shows is quite easy to do. He shouldn't have left himself holding any Breath. It's suspicious. If those guards had noticed his aura—or if someone working in the prison had been of the First Heightening—Vasher would have been spotted. It's such an easy fix that he should have thought of it.

    The problem is, I felt I needed to establish the way the magic works from the beginning. Having to explain why Vasher didn't make the clothing glow would have been awkward and confusing at this point in the book. So I left this as it is.

    However, being who I am, I developed a background for why Vasher did it this way. He left his Breath in, and thought that maybe it would be noticed—but if it was, he knew that the guards would lock him in a cell much closer to Vahr. That would be convenient, as it would ensure that he was much closer to his quarry. Of course, in such a cell, he wouldn't be able to Awaken anything and escape. However, he'd planned for that too. He set a little straw figure outside the prison the night before, with specific Commands instructing it to search through the cells and find him, delivering a set of lock picks.

    It was risky—but either way he did it would be risky. He couldn't know for certain that the guards would take him to the area he needed to be in, and even if he had hidden his Breath in his clothing, some prisons have rules in place requiring each prisoner to be stripped, just in case they've done just that. Fortunately, these guards were particularly lazy. Anyway, Vasher's contingency plan wasn't needed, as the guards didn't end up noticing his Breath.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #10005 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    First Line Origins

    Of course, this line got a tweak of its own in later drafts. I was fond of this first line, as I'd used it in the original short story with Vancer. However, in that story, he'd been thrown into prison for other reasons. In Warbreaker, I began the book with Vasher getting himself purposefully tossed into prison.

    So, in the end, my editor pointed out that the line no longer worked quite right. We had to change it—why would Vasher complain about getting thrown into prison if he had done it to himself on purpose? So, it became "It's funny how many things begin with my getting thrown into prison."

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #10006 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Naming Vasher

    Vasher's name has interesting origins. I first began toying with the ideas that became Warbreaker back in 2005. I was hanging out with my then girlfriend (not Emily, but Heather, the girl I dated before I met Emily). We were up at Heather's family's cabin in Island Park, Idaho, and I had just met her father for the first time. His name was Vance.

    The name intrigued me. Yes, I'd heard it before, but for some reason at that moment it struck me. Later that day, sitting on the dock of the lake, I pulled out my notebook and began to play around with ideas for a story. I tweaked the name to Vancer, but that just didn't sound right, though I used it for a while. The next incarnation was Vasher. [Editor's note: Brandon had earlier used the name Vasher in 2003 for a different character in the draft of another novel, but he had completely forgotten that by the time he wrote this annotation.]

    I began doing some preliminary prose writing, plugging in a magic system I'd been working on. (I'll talk more later about how I came up with Awakening.) It became a story about a guy who was thrown into prison, then used his Awakening magic to get out of it. (Along with the help of his longtime sidekick, whose name escapes me right now.)

    It wasn't very long. I'll have to dig it out sometime—it's only handwritten and wasn't something I ever intended to publish. Just a quick character sketch. It did have the first line, however, of what eventually became this book: "Why does it always have to end up with me getting thrown into prison?"

    Footnote: The accuracy of this story is somewhat in doubt as it is known that Vasher was a character in The Way of Kings Prime, and that Warbreaker was designed, in part, as a prequel to his apperance there.
    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #10007 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Prologue - Part One

    The Origins of the Prologue

    This began as a first chapter; I only later turned it into the prologue. My worry when I made the change (and it's still a bit of a worry) was that it was kind of a sneaky way to begin the book. Let me explain.

    This novel focuses primarily on Siri, Vivenna, and Lightsong. Vasher, as the fourth viewpoint, is only in there fairly sparsely. True, he drives a lot of what is happening from behind the scenes, but he's a mysterious figure, and we don't know a lot about him. This prologue is pretty much the most extensive, lengthy, and in-depth scene we get of him.

    Therefore, it's kind of sneaky to begin the book with him. I did it for a couple of reasons. First off—and this is the most important one—this scene is just a great hook. It shows off the magic system and the setting of the novel (most of the action takes place in T'Telir, even though the first few chapters are over in Idris). It's full of conflict and tension, with a mysterious character doing interesting things. In short, it's exactly how you want to begin a book.

    My worries aren't about this prologue so much as they are about the following three chapters, where things slow down a lot. I was tempted to cut this scene and put it in later, but I eventually decided that giving it the mantle of a prologue was enough. A lot of times, particularly in fantasy, we writers use a prologue to highlight a character or conflict that might not show up again for a while.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #10008 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Acknowledgements

    A lot of people helped me with this book. As you may or may not realize, I posted drafts of the novel online as I was writing it. It was a rather nerve-racking experience in many ways. My goal was to show the process of writing a novel as it happened. As such, I would finish a chapter, spellcheck it, then post it. (Though sometimes I held it for a while, as I eventually wanted to get to posting one chapter a week, and I'd often write two or three a week.)

    Why did I do this? Well, for a number of reasons. First off, I'd never seen anyone do it before. I'd seen serialized novels, of course, and I'd seen people post their complete novels once the book was out in stores. I'd never seen anyone post, chapter by chapter, the rough draft of a book that they already had a contract for. This was less serializing a novel and more showing the process. As I finished a new draft, I would post that so that people could compare and see how I tweaked my manuscripts.

    I also wanted a free novel on my website so that people could give my work a chance without having to pay for it. I figured that if they liked it, they'd try out my other books (and probably even buy Warbreaker when it came out). And if they didn't like it, then at least they hadn't spent any money on it.

    The third reason I posted it this way was that I wanted to see what kind of community and feedback I could get for a book while it was being posted, then use that kind of like a writing group. Now, I tend to write fairly clean rough drafts. They're far from perfect, but since I like to outline a lot, I generally know where I'm going with a book when I write it. However, a great deal still changes in drafting, and many of the people who posted comments on my blog had an influence on the novel. Not really in changing the plot or the characters—it's more that their questions and concerns would inspire me to explain something better or develop an aspect of the story more.

    I tried to get everyone on the list who helped out in a moderate or significant way. However, I'm sure I missed some people. If you're one of those who gave me a lot of comments during the early months when I was posting the rough draft, and I forgot you in the acknowledgments, drop me an e-mail so I can at least get you added to the electronic version.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #10009 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Map

    The map for this book was done by the awesome Shawn Boyles.

    For this book, I wanted something with an illustrated feel to it. The Mistborn maps were supposed to look realistic and gritty—like maps from London during the nineteenth century. I wanted twisting, cramped streets and a sense of overcrowding.

    For Warbreaker I wanted a very different feel. I wanted a picture that looked hand drawn, something a little exaggerated and intentionally less accurate. Like a picture you might see hanging on someone's wall, vaguely showing the size, shape, and relative locations of important things in the city.

    I picked Shawn because of his style. He has a very colorful, very round and smooth style, and I thought that would translate very well to a map of the city. Ironically, the first map he gave me looked very detailed and intricate, much like the Mistborn maps. He was trying way too hard, I feel—imitating the style of the previous books.

    I asked him for something that was more natural to his style, something that was a profile view rather than an overhead view and had stylized houses. The second draft came back nearly perfect; I was very excited. The only problem with that one was that it wasn't big enough. (It was about half the size of the final product and didn't have the upper portion of the map where the city curves around the bay.)

    One more draft, however, and we were finished. He did the artwork by hand on a large piece of cardstock, then scanned it and filled in details on the computer. I love the finished product. I wish we could have done colored end pages using it.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
    #10010 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dedication

    This book is dedicated to my dear wife, Emily. I started writing this book when we were dating, and worked on it all through our engagement. I even took it on our honeymoon to Hawaii—though I didn't actually get any writing done on it then.

    When I proposed to her, I wrote out a little poem in the form of a proposal that I said I'd use as the Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians dedication. She didn't want it to appear in the book, however, because a live dedication in a novel would have embarrassed her.

    However, I asked if she'd mind having Warbreaker dedicated to her, and she was excited about that. You may know that when we were married, I commissioned a large batch of swords—inscribed with names from my books—and gave them to my closest friends. I named Emily's sword Lightsong, and she carried it around at the reception. (Mine is named Dragonsteel.)

    So, anyway, this book is very dear to her. It's the first one of mine she had input on during the editing process. And now it's finally published, about three years since the date of our wedding. Ah, how time flies.

    As a side note, when I was a teenager, I dreamed of someday proposing to my wife via a book dedication. Back then, being married and getting published were both very, very distant goals of mine. Like twin holy grails, shining on the mountain, virtually unobtainable but hoped for nonetheless.

    I can still remember thinking of how cool it would be to surprise my soon-to-be-fiancée by walking with her into the bookstore to see if my new book was on the shelves yet. (In my daydream, it was the Cosmic Comics store back in Lincoln, which sold sf/fantasy books. It's the place where I first saw Eye of the World on a store shelf, by the way.) I imagined myself walking over and finding it on the shelf during its release week, then calling her over. That would be the first time she'd see the dedication, which would be a proposal to her. Of course, I'd have worked it out with the bookstore owner so that there was a ring taped to the next page.

    Ah, ignorance. It was a fond dream. What I didn't realize is that often, there are years between the writing of a book and its publication. I didn't really think that Emily would want to wait three years for a proposal, just so that I could surprise her by having it in the front of a published book. . . .

    Sometimes, though, it's still amazing to me to look back at that sixteen-year-old version of myself and realize that I've achieved both of those goals. I'm not only a published author, but I'm writing fantasy books as a full-time job. And I'm not only married, but I'm married to just about the most wonderful woman who's ever lived.

    So those things weren't so unobtainable after all. But they're still just as precious as I imagined.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #10011 Copy

    Questioner

    When you're writing a book, and you're writing a character that's better at something than you are, like Shallan is very good at drawing, or Wayne is very good at imitating voices, how do you write that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a good question. You get this old adage in writing classes where people are like "write what you know". And you're like, buuuuuut...writing about English professors gets a little old, unless you're writing literary fiction and that's like half of it. What do you do when you want to write someone that's better at something than you are? Excellent question. A couple of things. You can construct the perfect situation to show off what you want to show off, which is not how life normally goes. So I'm not nearly as clever as some of my characters, but I can construct the situation and then take like two hours thinking "Alright, what's the perfect comeback" Go get a burger and it's like "Ahh the perfect comeback". Like you might do when you're like "Ahh if only I'd thought of that. You can make that happen.

    The other thing you can do is good research, and for a lot of things where it's a skill I don't have, what I try and do is I try to do enough research to get myself like seventy percent of the way there as an expert. And you can do that pretty fast, you take a couple of months, read a couple of books, and you can get yourself to the point that you don't sound embarrassing. Then you write the scenes and you find someone that is an expert, because that last thirty percent is what takes like nine years extra. And you give it to them and you say "Where am I wrong?". And since you've kind of done enough work that you're not just like completely out of left field, they can fix it usually, and they're like "Oh yeah, this is not something that a doctor would say", "This is not something you do, you fix it right here, but you got these parts all right, the context is correct". And that's what you want to do, if you can. Forums are very useful, in the internet age you can go and hang out, learn around people talking about all kinds of things. You can be like "How do these people think? How do people who think this way think?", and you can go there and get from their own mouths and their own voices, a lot of how they're talking and thinking, what their passionate about and things like that. And then you try to represent that the way they would represent it if they were writing the book.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #10012 Copy

    Questioner

    In The Stormlight Archive, Damnation is a physical planet, or place, to my understanding. The Tranquiline Halls seems a little less tangible, is it a physical place and will we see it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, Damnation and the Tranquiline Halls, are they physical places? In Rosharan mythology they are places, much like heaven and hell are places. Tranquiline Halls is-- and so they believe that they do exist, but they're not sure if they exist on this plane or the next plane, or things like that. And that's all I'm going to say about it.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #10013 Copy

    Questioner

    You were saying that you had, somewhere in the Middle East, was it  English or were they reading it in...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh good question, were they reading it in English or Arabic? They were reading in English, they were reading the UK editions. So I don't know that I have-- Well, I know I have my books in Turkish but I don't think there are any actually in Arabic. There's some sister languages, but not Arabic.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #10014 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you find yourself impatient having to wait to reveal some of these things?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do I find myself impatient having to wait to reveal some of these things? Yeah, yeah yeah, it's--

    Questioner

    Start changing your mind and working on that idea more--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah I do. There are ideas that I'm like "this book is gonna be so cool, I'm going to work on that", and then I have to be like "alright, you can work on that while you're excited about it, but do you realize it's like ten years away?" So these outlines, I'm very excited-- But you know what, I'm used to it. I started writing Dalinar's story when I was fifteen and people didn't get to read Dalinar's story til I was like 35-- 37-- something like that. It was 35 I think. So I waited 20 years for Dalinar. So I can wait a little bit longer on some of these other things.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #10015 Copy

    Questioner

    I've got a question about Hoid. Now that he is a [worldhopper], he's been in quite a few books, do you have any plans or is it possible that he may windup jumping realities into a universe that, as you write more books that are outside the cosmere, or do you just kind of plan of having him--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question. So the question is am I going to have Hoid, who has appeared in many of my books, jump between universes as I write more outside the cosmere. The answer is actually no. I have a distinct story that I'm telling in the cosmere and it's less about the fun of connecting all my works, which is fun, but it's less about that and more about the actual story. Part of the reason I'm actually doing this thing with Hoid is I like the idea-- playing with the idea, of what is an epic. An epic that spans many many years is really cool to me, so I have hidden that amongst my books, and it'll eventually come out in a much more direct way. I actually had to make this choice pretty early in my career, when I was writing The Rithmatist was the first one. You know, the Alcatraz books are just goofy and zany, so I didn't have to think about it as much with those, but with The Rithmatist I was like "what am I going to do with this?". Because it had originally been planned as a cosmere book, and then I decided I wanted to set it on Earth and I didn't want to do a lot of these sort of political things on Earth in the cosmere, I wanted it to be a far-off and distant place. And that's when I made the break, I said "no I'm not going to put him in this". And that made it easy when people were like "hey, you going to sneak him into The Wheel of Time?". Nah nah let's move along there. A lot of people were expecting me to sneak him in.

    Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
    #10016 Copy

    Questioner

    When writing, how do you work out space versus time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Space versus time, what do you mean?

    Questioner

    So I guess distance versus time. So like, you have your math and you're writing, is it more just kind of feel how the story goes, or is it "I know this amount of space is going to take the characters four months--"

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh I see what you're saying. Ok, so how do you work with, when you've got traveling characters, working out how much time things are going to take, traveling and things like this in the book, it actually really depends on the plot archetype of the book. If the book is what we call a travelogue, which is about traveling places, exploring new locations, it's kind of got that adventuresome, exploration feel to it, then the destinations you go to are the main part of the plot. For most of the books I'm writing, I don't do travelogues very often. I've done a few but not very often. So for me, that stuff in the middle is the boring stuff, and I skip it. You'll see in my books, they start in one chapter and they're like "well, we've gotta get here", and the next chapter they're like "wow, that was a ride" and then were there, and that's because the plot archetype I'm working on is usually different than that. So you've gotta kind of understand what you're writing.

    One of the big things to figure out about your story, either discovering it as you write or planning it, however you do it, is why are people turning the pages, what are the promises I'm fulfilling, what is the thing that they're going to read that book to get. It can be multiple things, but if that exploration's part of it, they don't want to miss that journey. I remember reading a book once, and this is kind of an example of why this is so important, and I'm not going to name who it is because he's a very good writer. But there's one of his books where he stops, takes a break, comes back to the characters a few years later, like in the middle of the story, and you've missed the main character falling in love and getting married and this stuff. And I was like "No!", because the book is a coming-of-age book, and so the coming-of-age book skipping falling in love really felt like a betrayal of my trust as the reader. There are other books I've read where you can skip that, and it's okay, does that makes sense? Because the book is not about that, it can be about something else. So make sure you're not skipping the stuff that people want to read. Make sure you skip the other stuff though.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #10017 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    For the recording and for the sake of you, Peter and I have a big document that talks about all these mechanics [of blank identity and metalminds]. It's entirely possible that when I'm actually sitting down and building future Mistborn, like 1980s technology, that I'm like "Ahh some of this needs tweaking". So what's not expressly in the books, that I'm telling you guys, has not...I mean it's like 90% canon but it's possible that I'm like "Ahh this is just not going to work" because when we get to the actual plotting of that and future Mistborn, science fiction Mistborn, I'm going to have to look at that and decide, how is the power ratio, right, am I breaking the economy by doing these things. So things that I just have instincts on right now, I haven't worked out the economics of. 

    Questioner

    So that'll come later.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That'll come later in the series, so I'm just giving myself some wiggle room on some of these things, but that's how I have it in my head right now.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #10018 Copy

    Questioner

    In Mistborn, we know if someone puts their Identity into a metalmind, they can create metalminds other people can use. Would other people be able to use that aluminummind to overwrite their own Identity, or is it still tied to the creator because it was still keyed to their Identity when they were filling it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So if you have no Identity and you fill a metalmind, that metalmind is full of Identity-less...

    Questioner

    Yeah, so anyone can use that. But can someone use your aluminummind?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ooh wait a minute, so...that you filled with your Identity. So they would have to have your Identity already. 

    Questioner

    Ok, so you can't have two people fill Identity and effectively swap aluminumminds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you can...there are ways to make this happen but the best way to make what you're talking about happen, is to be filling your own Identity while having a blank metalmind. That is the best way, obviously. But there are other workarounds for both situations, like a blank metalmind is pretty easy to use. It's blank. But if you were blank, and using a blank, it's a little better. 

    Questioner

    Ok. Because you're both blank.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, and so I'll give you the mechanics of all this eventually, they're just trying to still figure it all out themselves. Because right now they're just doing things they've been told "do this" but they don't know the why's. But if you are blank and have a metalmind that has an Identity, right, that is not an impossible situation that you're in either.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #10021 Copy

    Questioner

    So, the original Steelheart, David's father, vs David, once he gets his new steelheart powers, which one do you think would be better?

    Brandon Sanderson

    More powerful you mean?

    Questioner

    Yeah, and, like more, skill-wise and...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh definitely original Steelheart but, you know, give David some time.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #10023 Copy

    Questioner

    At the end of the last Wax and Wayne book, which I love, that statue that they though was the Lord Ruler. It was Kelsier.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was Kelsier.

    Questioner

    Ok. I thought so, because the way the other thing ended with the eye, the eye thing was throwing me off and then I went and grabbed the secret thing and I was like "No that can't..."

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is Kelsier.

    Questioner

    And will we find out more in the next Wax and Wayne book or do we need to wait and find out more later?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will find out more in the Wax and Wayne book, really that that's going on there is foreshadowing for era 3, and for future Secret History stories if I do them. So the Wax and Wayne books are not about the return of Kelsier, but the return of Kelsier is very important for later things in the series.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #10024 Copy

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah the Divine Breath is a gift of Investiture directly to the...basically they are being given a large Splinter of Endowment.

    Questioner

    But is it the size?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The size is important, to make that happen, yeah.

    Questioner

    To make it happen?

    Brandon Sanderson

    To make it happen, yeah. To make them come back and to do the things but...there is obviously some leakage there when they basically taking a Cognitive Sh...they have to create a Cognitive Shadow of the spirit, right. Which requires some work, and then to push that back into the body and get it to stick requires some work as well. You'll see that with Szeth it isn't sticking very well.

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah Szeth is not a Cognitive Shadow, he actually got stuck back in but the soul is not sticking very well to the body

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's what she's saying.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #10025 Copy

    Questioner

    Can it be restored? The Splinters...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um, Splinters, can they be restored to... So it is, that is a yes, but restoring them will not restore Honor, the Vessel of Honor, right. They would restore Honor the Shard if this were to happen, but a new Vessel would have to take it.

    Questioner

    Ok so, [Adonalsium] can be put back together?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Adonalsium? It is theoretically possible to put a Shard back into, you know, to meld Shards together. The fact that we have already seen someone meld powers, in Sazed. So yes, but the question is who or what was Adonalsium, and is putting it back together going to do anything? Or...

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #10027 Copy

    Questioner

    Seons are Splinters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Splinters of Devotion.

    Questioner

    Um, Splintered...Honor is the *inaudible*...the stormwall...

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Stormfather?

    Questioner

    The Stormfather.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Stormfather is technically a Splinter of Honor, but it was an intentional Splinter, that Honor did himself.

    Questioner

    Does he have another Splinter?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, all of the honorspren are Splinters of Honor, but this is a different situation because he actually did this intentionally.

    Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
    #10030 Copy

    Questioner

    So you said that, specifically on Roshar, shardblades haven't been revived? And, have they been on other worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh, no, there are very few things you could call shardblades on other worlds.

    Questioner

    Well, I meant the spren that were...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah ok, yeah yeah yeah. No let's just just...it hasn't ever happened before, and they, in-world, think it's impossible.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #10031 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    And...I think that's it! Wow. Sorry to take weeks to answer all of these. I got to the end, however, which is progress. (The last time I did this, I didn't give a cut-off date for the questions, and got swamped quickly.)

    Thank you again, Paul, for inviting me. And also for those who spent time reading my books and discussing them. I'm going to make a final attempt to put in an appearance in the Warbreaker thread here in a bit.

    I hope to do this again. It was fun. Beyond that, I'll probably do something like this on my own forums here in the next few months. So if you've got other questions, you can save them up for then.

    Best,

    Brandon

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    Czanos

    Any idea when you'll be releasing the full table of Allomantic metals and associated phonetics shown in your blog post about vinyl decals?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Very, very soon. It's at the printer right now. Should happen this month, if all things go well. We will start with the limited edition prints on the nice paper with the expensive inks, signed and numbered by myself and Isaac. Poster prints will come eventually too. And, of course, we'll also release in standard desktop sizes for free, for those who can't afford a poster.

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    Dreamer129

    Are there any useful exercises you could give to a writer who's trying to improve their technique? I've heard the one about four different people describing the same place, but I was wondering if you had any other good ones.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Try to describe an extended scene, with various things happening, four different times, once with a focus on visuals, once on scents, once using touch, once using sounds. See if you can evoke a different feel each time, using the same scene but different senses.

    Practice both discovery writing and outline writing. Meaning, practice writing stories where you just go off on whatever strikes you, and practice writing a story where you spend a lot of time on an outline. Try to figure out which method works best for you when trying a specific type of story, and perhaps try some hybrids. Anything that helps you write better stories more regularly is a tool to keep practicing.

    Try a dialogue scene, where you try to evoke character and setting using ONLY dialogue. No descriptions allowed. (This is best when you're focused on making the characters each distinct simply through how they talk.)

    Finally, listen to Writing Excuses. ;)

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    Chaos2651

    One other question, what is the name of the planet that Elantris is on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Elantris: Sel

    Warbreaker: Nalthis

    Mistborn: Scadrial

    Way of Kings: Roshar

    White Sand: Taldain

    Dragonsteel: Yolen

    There are others, but I haven't talked much about those yet, so I'll leave them off for now.

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    MarlonRand

    Additionally, how much time would you say that you spend researching on any given work, and what are some of the things that you research?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That one's really too hard to judge.

    Research for me is on-going for any given work, and I don't track how much time I spend on it. Generally, I dig into specific topics when the need arises, then do more 'cast out the net' general reading for ideas the rest of the time. Generally, I'll only dig in deeply if a topic is important to a specific story. (Such as—for Mistborn—researching canals or the effects of being made a eunuch at various ages.)

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    MarlonRand

    Just a sudden question that popped into my head: Do you like Joss Whedon's work, specifically Firefly and Dr. Horrible?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I enjoyed Firefly quite a bit; I was actually among the (apparently small) group of people who watched it during its original broadcast run. I'm impressed with Joss's writing, though I'm not an enormous fan of his on the level of many of my friends.

    I missed Dr. Horrible. Been meaning to watch that, actually...

    There. Just added it to my Netflix queue.

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    little_wilson

    So, Brandon. Hoid. I remember you saying at the Idaho Falls signing last year that he was in Well of Ascension. We, your dedicated fans who like scouring books searching for obscure characters who have any possibility of being the mysterious Hoid, have yet to find him. Peter sent us on a hunt for him (Hoid, not Peter...) in the deleted scenes, and we found his boot-print.

    Now, I think he broke the pottery there too—the one holding the lerasium—and since there's broken pottery in the actual version, I think he may have snuck into the cavern and broken it as well. If so, is this Hoid's part in Well of Ascension? This trace of him? I commend you if it is. It is clever, making us think it was a person, when in fact it's just something he did.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You are on the right track, but wrong on one point. Hoid does appear in the book.

    I had originally toyed with making his touch on the novel more obscure, but decided that I wanted to be consistent with the other novels by actually having him appear. Once I realized I'd probably cut the scene with the footprint, I decided I needed this actual appearance even more badly.

    Fortunately, I knew what Hoid had been up to all this time, and had placed him in a position where several characters could run into him. In Well of Ascension, Hoid believed (as Vin did) that the Well was in the North, even though it was not. He spent much of the book pursuing this idea.

    Through events, however, he discovered he was wrong. He made the realization after Vin did, but only because of a chance meeting. (This is recorded in the books. Let's just say he was listening in when someone implied that the Well was in Luthadel.)

    He hurried to Luthadel, and was in the town, skulking about in the last parts of the novel. He isn't seen here, though he does still infiltrate the Well. (Hoid is quite proficient at manipulating Shadesmar for his own ends.)

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    ErrantKnave

    Any plans to tour Warbreaker or The Gathering Storm in Toronto or other Canadian cities?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll be in Montreal on Saturday the eighth! Less than a week away now. I'm hoping to get to other cities in Canada for future tours, but I'm going to start with this one visit. We'll see. We might be able to manage a several-city Canadian Tour next year.

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    Aldoth

    A bit left of center question. Are you a role player? I ask because on Writing Excuses I think I heard you mention it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I am a role player. Have been since I discovered the TMNT RPG back when I was a young teen, and have been doing it pretty much ever since. When I play, I’m almost always some kind of magic user (duh). When I GM, I prefer to homebrew my own system.

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    izyk

    You mentioned in an earlier answer that learning to revise was one of the biggest factors in making your work publishable.

    Would you give us an idea of the process you go through when you revise?

    Thanks!

    --Isaac

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thanks for the question, Isaac! (Isaac, by the way, is the person who introduced me to my wife and set us up on our first blind date.)

    I view working on a book in the same way a sculptor might view working on a block of wood. The first draft is generally focused on getting things in place so I can work on them. In essence, I cut out the crude features of the sculpture—but when it's done, there is still a lot of work to be done. Readers who see the book in this stage can tell what the basic arcs and characters will be, but the emotional impact is lessened by the crude edges and unfinished lines.

    Here's my process in a nutshell:

    Draft one: Write the book in draft form.

    Draft two: Read through the entire book, fixing the major problems. Often, I'll change character personalities halfway through the first draft as I search to figure out how I want the character to sound. I don't go back then and revise, as I need to try out this personality for a while before I decide to actually use it. Similarly, often I'll drop in new characters out of the blue, pretending that they've been there all along. In the second draft, I settle on how I want things to really look, feel, and work.

    Draft three: Language draft. Here I'm seeking to cut the book down by 10%. I write with a lot of extra words, knowing I'll need a trim. This will make the prose more vibrant, and will make the pacing work better.

    In a perfect world, this is where I writing group the piece and/or send it to my editor. (For lack of time, my writing group is getting Draft Two of The Way of Kings. Hopefully, I'll be able to do draft three by the end of the year.)

    I let readers read the book, and I take some time off of it. I begin collecting things I want to change in the book in a separate file, called "Revision notes for ***", listing the name of the book. I organize these by character and by importance and/or pervasiveness. For instance, a need to rewrite a character's motivations will be at the top. Fixing one specific scene so that it has proper foreshadowing will be near the bottom.

    Once this is all done, and I've gotten feedback and had time to think, I read through the book again with my revision notes file open beside the book file itself. I actively look for places to change, kind of like a sculptor looking over the statue and seeking places to knock off jagged chunks and smooth out the sculpture’s features.

    I'll do this process several times, usually. In-between, I'll often do line-edit drafts, like the language draft above, where I'm focused on getting rid of the passive voice and adding more concrete details.

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    Nikleas

    Since you established that all the worlds you created in your books are linked, any chance to see in the (very) distant future a book/series that delves into this overarching story/universe/rules more directly? Possibly with a crossover of characters from your different stories, specifically characters that became "immortal" or at least achieve a "different" state: Sazed, Kelsier, Raoden. Is that something you would even be interested in doing?

    Or will you stick to placing subtle hints in your different books/series about the overall system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    VERY distant future is correct. I will confirm that I do have stories planned that delve into what is going on behind the scenes. There will be short stories dealing with Hoid, most likely posted to my website.

    Some of these stories are novel length, and I can't say what I'll do with them. Perhaps I'll write them out in novel form and release them in bookstores, but I have a feeling that most of my readers would be completely confused by them. So perhaps these will all just be on my website only. (If they are released that way, they'll most likely be free for download and reading.)

    The subtle hints will continue until then. Mostly, I want the stories to be enjoyable and self-contained. I don't want anyone to HAVE to know any of the behind the scenes, regarding Hoid, Adonalsium, and the rest. (Yes, there is more.) Those are there for the readers who want to dig, and who want to see the greater story. But I don't want them to overshadow the stories of the books themselves. At least not yet.

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    Rachykaych

    Also I wondered whether you will ever publish an encyclopedia of your interlocking worlds and their relationship to each other within their cosmos?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I plan to do something like this, as things progress. It won't happen until the future, however, and will likely happen only on-line. There will eventually be short stories showing some of what is going on behind the main stories of the novels. I do have some novels planned which would deal with all of this in a more direct way, but they are decades away from being written.

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    Rachykaych

    I've just read Warbreaker twice now and really enjoyed it both times.

    I read that although you've planned another book in the Warbreaker world you're not certain of when you can begin writing it. As it is the only book of yours that I've read to date, I've had to skip some of your answers to other questions that contain spoilers for your other book One thing I noticed in my skimming was that the character Hoid has turned up in other books of yours.

    He's very intriguing and at one point I thought he might be Vasher in disguise. Is he a Returned or is he not constrained by the magical construct?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, he's certainly not Vasher in disguise. Keep an eye out for him in other books of mine you read. He's constrained by magic like everyone else, but he has some extra experience, so to speak.

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    Chaos2651

    In the days of the Final Empire, how does one acquire a Kandra Contract? It's not like they can just walk up to their hidden Homeland and ask for their services.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Same way you would go about hiring an assassin. Secretly, using contacts who have used them before. You have to be in the know and well-connected, either with the upper-class or the underground.

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    Chaos2651

    Hemalurgically, atium steals Allomantic Temporal Powers. But, that seems unlikely, since atium is a god metal. It wouldn't fit in with the rest of the magic system. Did Preservation, in addition to switching cadmium and bendalloy for atium and malatium, also switch atium's Feruchemical and Hemalurgic powers with cadmium? Because it seems to me there's not a lot of atium Marsh can use to live for hundreds of years into the next Mistborn trilogy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Preservation wanted atium and malatium to be of use to the people, as he recognized that it would be a very powerful tool—and that using it up could help defeat Ruin. But he also recognized that sixteen was a mythological important number, and felt it would make the best sign for his followers. So he took out the most unlikely (difficult to make and use) metals for his sign to his followers. But that doesn't have much to do with Hemalurgy's use here.

    Remember that the tables—and the ars Arcanum—are 'in world' creations. (Or, at least, in-universe.) The knowledge represented in them is as people understand it, and can always have flaws. That was the case with having atium on the table in the first place, and that was the case with people (specifically the Inquisitors) trying to figure out what atium did Hemalurgically.

    Their experiments (very expensive ones) are what determined that atium (which they thought was just one of the sixteen metals) granted the Allomantic Temporal powers. What they didn't realize is that atium (used correctly) could steal ANY of the powers. Think of it as a wild card. With the right knowledge, you could use it to mimic any other spike. It works far better than other spikes as well.

    As for Marsh, he's got a whole bag of atium (taken off of the Kandra who was going to try to sell it.) So he's all right for quite a while. A small bead used right can reverse age someone back to their childhood.

    But this was a little beyond their magical understanding at the time.

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    Chaos2651

    Can you tell us what the rest of the Feruchemical and Hemalurgic powers are? Since, you know, you won't be writing in the Mistborn world for many years, and those Feruchemical and Hemalurgic Tables might not even come into existence if the Allomantic Metals one doesn't sell. Pretty please?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will release this eventually. I'm still tweaking the powers—their names, and how they function—and so I'd rather hold off on revealing anything specific right now. We might include them in the RPG, though.

    Chaos2651

    When is the Table of Allomantic Metals coming out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Printer emailed me today for final confirmation. Should be very soon now.

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    Chaos2651

    Is there a rationale to how Hemalurgic powers are distributed? I tried to look for a system, but they seem rather randomly distributed. For example, the spike which steals Allomantic powers for a particular quadrant is not always in one particular spot.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is correct, it's not always in one particular spot. None of them are. I used as my model on this magic system the concept of acupuncture and pressure points. Placing a Hemalurgic spike is a very delicate and specific art. Imagine there being a different overlay on a human body, like a new network of nerves, representing lines, points, and 'veins' of the soul's spiritual makeup.

    What is happening with Hemalurgy, essentially, is that you're driving a spike through a specific point on a person's body and ripping off a piece of their soul. It sticks to the spike on the Spiritual Realm. Then, you place that spike on someone else in a specific place (not exactly the same place, but on the right spiritual pressure point) and 'hot wire' the spirit to give it Hemalurgy or Feruchemy. It's like you're fooling the spiritual DNA, creating a work-around. Or, in some cases, changing the spirit to look like something else, which has the immediate effect of distorting the body and transforming it into a new creature.

    Hemalurgy is a very brutal way of making changes like this, though, so it often has monstrous effects. (Like with the koloss.) And in most cases, it leaves a kind of 'hole' in the spirit's natural defenses, which is how Ruin was able to touch the souls of Hemalurgists directly.

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    Chaos2651

    In Mistborn, you say its planet is called Scadrial. In-universe, where (or when) did the name Scadrial come to be used to be describe the Mistborn planet? Did the Lord Ruler and his obligators use that as the name of the planet, or did it come later, post-Mistborn 3? Or is "Scadrial" just what you as an author use to refer to it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is "In Universe" so to speak, though the name itself isn't known to the people on-planet. The Lord Ruler was the only one who understood the exact nature of a planet, really, though some of the obligators and noble scholars had a general idea. Astronomy was one of the scientific areas where the Lord Ruler didn't mind people doing research, so long as it kept their interest away from chemistry or a science that could lead to advances in weaponry.

    Scadrial would then have been the name that Ruin and Preservation understood for the planet, as well as certain other groups and individuals of a less directly divine nature.