Recent entries

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10454 Copy

    ArsenoPyrite

    I have a technical question here re: gemstones in The Stormlight Archive. How are the lines drawn between different types of gem? Emerald and Heliodor are both varieties of the mineral beryl. Emerald can get its color from trace amounts of chromium, vanadium and/or iron. Heliodor gets its color from iron combined with microscopic crystal defects. So, is the line between these two defined by color? If so, would a heliodor lose its usefulness if it were heated (which would turn it colorless or pale blue). Is it defined by trace elements--in which case, how do you deal with emeralds, or with aquamarine (the blue variety of beryl, which can also contain chromium or vanadium in small quantities and is mostly colored by iron). Sorry for getting so technical, but this gem nerd needs to know!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually spent a long time working on this while building the world. You'd probably be amused by how long I spent on it. Chemically, many of them are actually very similar, as you pointed out. I tried doing the book originally with them all being different, not using any that were basically the same crystal with different colors, but it didn't work out. There weren't enough, and so I had to stretch to make it all work.

    So, I went back to the original, and decided that color was enough to differentiate them. Just as steel and iron are very similar in the mistborn world, Emerald and Heliodor can be very similar--but produce different effects. The idea here is that the physical items (like the metals or the crystals) provide a key by which magical interaction occurs.

    So, in a long winded answer, a gemstone with an impure color would be considered like a bad alloy in the Mistborn magic--it either wouldn't work at all, or would work very poorly. The chemical and color signature needs to be of a specific variety to provide the proper key to accessing the power of transformation.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10455 Copy

    claytonphillips

    Several times in Way of Kings, you have characters think of the Shin as having big or round eyes. Do the Shin really have giant eyes, or do all the other peoples of Roshar have an epicanthic fold on their eyes?

    It seemed to me that this was very similar to how characters in second world fantasies, like Faile in Wheel of Time, are designated as "Asian" even though there is no Asia in the book. Is this a subversion of that? Are the Shin the only people on Roshar who look Western European?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You are right, actually. Normal eyes on Roshar are those with an epicanthic fold. The Shin do not have this. Note, however, that they wouldn't look "Western European." Roshar races are fairly far off from what we imagine as Earth ones. The people most likely to look Western European to you would be those from Mistborn.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10460 Copy

    Herowannabe

    Can an infused Hemalurgy spike be affected by Allomancy- steel pushes and iron pulls? Or does the charge interfere with the Allomancy much like a person's body would?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Anything infused (regardless of the world or magic that infused it) is resistant to magic. So you'd have a lot of trouble pushing or pulling on a spike, unless you had access to a boost of some sort to overcome the resistance.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10461 Copy

    Herowannabe

    What happens when a blind person burns Gold- especially of he "sees" a version of himself that isn't blind? Can he see the other version or just hear/feel/sense him? What about the other version, can it see things? Could a blind person use gold in this way to see the world around him?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A blind person would indeed sense these things, but not have the vision with the eyes. In the same way that a blind person still dreams, but doesn't "See" in them. (As I understand it.) I'd suggest talking to someone who is blind and getting their take on how this would work.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10462 Copy

    Herowannabe

    I recently picked up the Mistborn Adventure game and am loving it. I made a character who is a blind Mistborn because hey, I thought it would make for some interesting possibilities. As I understand Allomancy, he can hear/sense well enough to get around with Tin, plus even though he's blind he can still "see" steel lines (like the inquisitors), and I assume Atium would work the same way- that is, he could still "see" Atium shadows. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, you're right. That works. He'd have to burn metals a LOT though. It might warp him a little. :)

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10464 Copy

    theFinisher4Ever

    Was the Lord Ruler using Feruchemy + Allomancy to Soothe all of the people around him? Or was he, as I like to think, flaring for so long that he became a Soother Savant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He lived long enough and used his metals enough (particularly Soothing) to become nearly a savant in every area, if not a full savant.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10467 Copy

    yulerule

    *Written:* How much compounding would a nicrosil Twinborn would need to do to get a metalmind that is as Invested as Nightblood?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *Reading question:* How much compounding would... *mumbling*

    Wow, so much.

    *Writes:* Wow so much. 

    yulerule

    *Written:* A thousand breaths doesn't seem to be that much--the God King has tens of thousands. Would a piece of stone, wood, cloth, or plain metal that has a thousand breaths be as Invested as Nightblood, or is there something more? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it needs more. Needs more.

    *Writes:* Needs more.

    yulerule

    More?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    yulerule

    Does that-- is it taking stuff from people it kills?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO, good question.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10473 Copy

    Ravi

    If Odium were lured to Scadrial, would his physical body turn into a burnable metal?

    If so, could Harmony create an Odium-metal legion of Mistings to consume and burn it?

    Would that weaken him sufficiently enough to be killed or destroyed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The difficulty here is, again, one of Identity. People born on Scadrial have an Identity tied to it and its magic. Odium would have to do certain things to make them able to use a magic he fuels. He has done these things on Roshar, so it's not impossible for him to manage it on Scadrial.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10475 Copy

    Chaos

    You have said the Scadrians on the southern continent does have interaction with the Metallic Arts, but use them in very different ways. Does this mean there are different, for example, Allomantic abilities for those Scadrians? Or is it more a cultural thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The abilities are the same. The way they harness and use them, though, is different...

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10476 Copy

    AptoCanavalian

    Dear Brandon, If you could have a dinner party with six of the characters that you have written about, which six would you choose and why? Would your answer change if the party was in someone else's house?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it would be tough--I'd have to decide if I wanted the party to be crazy, interesting, or low risk.

    For example, inviting Hoid and Kelsier to the same party could result in murdering. Having Sazed around with someone like Jasnah would lead to some great discussions of philosophy.

    unknown

    Wait--are you implying Hoid and Kelsier would want to murder each other, or that they would team up to murder other people?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid and Kelsier do not get along. At all.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10477 Copy

    samwisevimes

    I had a question about the Parshendi, do they have a negotiating form? I ask because it seems they must have shifted forms before/just after the betrayal and are now stuck in war form, but if they had the ability to negotiate before why not now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    More of this will be answered in book two. They aren't 'stuck' in warform, but do have limited options.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10479 Copy

    Nepene

    In Warbreaker Lightsong mentions that the Returned's forms are dependent on contemporary beauty standards. In the Emperor's Soul Shai implies that if others did not find the Emperor's Soul plausible it would not take as well. Is my reading of their statements correct, is their magic dependent on how others view you as well as how you view yourself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. This is a factor.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10480 Copy

    Nepene

    In The Emperor's Soul and Elantris the magic systems have very different methods and powers, though both work through symbols. Assuming they adapted the symbols to their local geography could they use each other's methods? Could an Elantrian forge a soulstamp say?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Birth in a certain location on Sel gives a certain affinity for the local symbols, and their usage. To use the magic of another region, one would need to have a rewritten connection to that area instead.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10481 Copy

    Nepene

    You've said you want to write a book set in the Southern Continent. I did enjoy the Emperor's Soul a lot, so I am curious about you writing that future book. How do they use magic differently, and why should we be excited about reading a book set there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The southern continent is where people have discovered how to harness the metallurgic arts in a more mechanical method. (I've hinted several places that this is possible. I've been holding off doing it until we go here.)

    Chaos

    About the southern continent, would it be possible for other Scadrians to discover this method of using the Metallic Arts, or is it unique to the southern Scadrians?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is technology-based rather than genetics based.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10482 Copy

    Nepene

    If Ruin had won, what would his long term goals for the Cosmere be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ruin's goals and motives were about fulfilling the needs of the Shard inside of him. It overwhelmed his personality, and corrupted him. He would seek for all things to be reduced to a state of entropic equilibrium.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10483 Copy

    Nepene

    You've mentioned several philosophical concepts used in the writing of your books, like Jung's collective unconsciousness, Plato's cave. Could you expand a bit on your use of those in your books, and whether you think it is necessary to use philosophy to make a good fantasy world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think it's necessary at all. The writer's own fascinations--whatever they are--can add to the writing experience. But yes, some philosophical ideas worked into my fiction. Plato's theory of the forms has always fascinated, and so the idea of a physical/cognitive/spiritual realm is certainly a product of this. Human perception of ideals has a lot to do with the cognitive realm, and a true ideal has a lot to do with the spiritual realm.

    As for more examples, they're spread through my fiction. Spinoza is in there a lot, and Jung has a lot to do with the idea of spiritual connectivity (and how the Parshendi can all sing the same songs.)

    Nepene

    Not completely sure where Spinoaza comes in. I guess the shards are part of the natural world and have no personality without a human wielder.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes on Spinoza there, and also the idea of God being in everything, and everything of one substance. Unifying laws. Those sorts of things. (Less his determinism, though.)

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10484 Copy

    ryanthelion

    I know that you are very meticulous in developing your stories. Were the shardblades, shardplate, mistborn cloaks, or even Nightblood from Warbreaker developed in a similar fashion, or is it a more organic process to making cool weapons and armor? How do you blur the line between what makes sense, and what is just plain fun?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are connections in the things you mentioned above, though I don't want to speak of specifics yet for risk of spoiling future revelations.

    As for blurring the line between what makes sense and what is fun...I err on the side of the fun. However, part of my meticulous planning is about how to make the fun make sense. I feel that is part of what makes this genre interesting. I decided I wanted to do a story about the Knights Radiant, with the Plate and Blades. From there, I spent a long time thinking about what would make those kinds of weapons reasonable and important to a society.

    You can do anything, but do try to focus on laying your groundwork and being consistent.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10486 Copy

    Satsuoni

    You have mentioned that certain spren are an embodiment of concepts. How does that work for the concepts like honour, that can mean opposite things to different culture groups?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Human perception has a lot to do with why spren act like they do...

    /r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
    #10490 Copy

    Satsuoni

    You said that every person on Scadrial has a bit of Preservation in them. It is possible, then, to accumulate enough Hemalurgic charge from killing normal people by, say, steel spike (at once, or in order), to make that spike grant Allomancy? Building on this, is it possible for the spike to accumulate charge while being imbedded in acceptor body, by killing people with the protruding end?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My, you're making the Scadrial magic systems sound a lot like the one from Nalthis.... Hm....

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #10491 Copy

    phrakture

    You seem to be adept at creating interesting magic systems for your worlds - what is your creative process for creating something of this sort? Any hints as to what the next one might involve?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Next two magic systems you might see:

    1) Disease magic. Bacteria have evolved to the point that they try to keep their hosts alive by granting them magical powers while you have the disease. So, you catch a cold, and can fly until you get over it.

    2) I've got a a very cool 'throwing spheres of light' magic that I'm working on...which, when you break it down, was inspired by seeing how accurate baseball pitchers were and thinking about how that could be weaponized in a fantasy world.

    3) That guy with his ice soap has me thinking about "freezing stuff in water" magic. Like, potions that do things only after they thaw...

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #10492 Copy

    shdwfeather

    One of the things I really like about your books is the creative and immersive backdrop that the stories take place in. I know you spend a lot of time (and words!) on the background material for these worlds. Will you ever publish your world-building notes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd like to someday. The reason I haven't yet is because many of them contain cosmere-related notes that give huge spoilers for other books. I could just expunge those, but I feel it better to let things grow a little more and then do some worldbooks. The Mistborn RPG coming out this year is half worldbook, though, and has a lot of setting information from my notes.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #10493 Copy

    luxgladius

    Do you already have a fully fleshed-out idea of all 10 orders of the Knights Radiant, or are you still coming up with them and their Ideals?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All ten orders are finished and worldbuilt. (I feel pretty good about them.) However, I could decide to move some things around as I write.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #10494 Copy

    unknown

    Was Vallano, Szeth's grandfather, also a Truthless? And if not, what did he do to disgrace the Shin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, Vallano was not Truthless.

    Szeth was a very respected member of his society, once. There are clues to what happened in his story, but you won't hear it in full until he gets his book. (Which will include his flashbacks.)

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #10495 Copy

    Renian

    When will we see a book that basically revolves around the concept of the Cosmere and the shard-travelers? Basically, a book revolving around people like Hoid who can jump from shard to shard.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Third Mistborn Trilogy involves a lot of this. I MIGHT do some parallel stories showing more of what Hoid has been up to. He is a primary viewpoint protagonist of Dragonsteel, but that happens before all of the other books.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #10498 Copy

    blorcit

    I've seen in your answers to previous questions that you are always open to changing aspects of your story so long as it's not already written in another book, or more importantly so that it doesn't contradict what the reader already knows.

    That being said, how much of the Cosmere and its story would you say you already have a plan for? For example, do you more or less already know how each world and story ties into one another, or is that something that changes as you write? Given that there seem to be some constants in this universe (the number of shards, etc.), is there an end to these stories as a whole, or is it an ever-expanding universe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Things do change as I evolve as a writer.

    There is an end to this story. Dragonsteel-Kings-Mistborn are all fairly well planned out, but I must allow myself flexibility.

    /r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
    #10499 Copy

    FirstRyder

    This series will apparently be 10 books long, and for in-world reasons having it end up 9 or 11 books long would be inauspicious. Do you think you'll regret setting a pretty firm length on it, fifteen years down the road?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Honestly, I'll let myself drop by a few books if the story demands. I won't inflate it to ten if, in the long run, the story just can't hold it up. Right now, though, I've got a really solid outline.

    It's ten books, though in my mind, there are really two five book arcs.