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    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10501 Copy

    ccstat

    Can a Seeker, standing outside a Coppercloud, that is between them and another Allomancer, can he sense the person standing on the other side of the Coppercloud?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but he might get some interference.

    Ben McSweeney

    Would you sense the cloud itself, like "Hey, there's a cloud between me and what I'm looking at"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you know what you're doing, you might be able to say something is interfering, but you wouldn't be able to determine what. There are multiple things that could cause that, for instance-- Most of them are only-- That they would be able to-- Yeah, there are multiple things that could cause that. Like, for instance--

    Ben McSweeney

    Big buildings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, aluminum.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10506 Copy

    Questioner

    When you do get around to giving us Hoid's story is it going to be like Ender's Shadow type of thing where you're filling in the gaps?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know I know that stuff, but I don't plan to do it that way. I plan to do his backstory more as his own story because while I really like Ender's Shadow, most of the things like that I haven't enjoyed as much. Plus, it would take me books and books and books to do it. We'll see. I haven't closed the door on that idea, but I'm not planning on it right now. There are parallel things like that I am planning to write, but it's not Hoid.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10508 Copy

    KalynaAnne

    Lines of Vigor, do they behave like light waves?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    KalynaAnne

    So a higher frequency means it’s better at penetrating, lower frequency transfers energy and moves stuff?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Ben McSweeney

    Nice, I didn't know that one.

    KalynaAnne

    So, when they bounce off Lines of Forbiddance, do they follow laws of reflection?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Ben McSweeney

    They should always reflect at the same angle.  Think of, like, a pool table.

    KalynaAnne

    If a Line of Vigor is moving from concrete onto asphalt, is it changing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's going to act like light transferring to a new medium.

    KalynaAnne

    So it refracts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's going to-- Yeah, it's going to refract.

    KalynaAnne

    So it changes speed as it moves?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. So you get a different wavelength, or whatever, once transfers onto a new medium.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10509 Copy

    KalynaAnne

    If you use different circle centers rather than the orthocenter, you cando 9-point conic constructions and make 9-point ellipses?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    KalynaAnne

    Is that valid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say yes, that could be valid.

    Ben McSweeney

    Wasn't there a rule about ellipses being a little--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, they are a little less strong.

    Ben McSweeney

    --they're weak because the long sides are weaker than the short sides.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but this would work. There's not much reason to use it because the other is naturally-- has a stronger integrity than this, but you could theoretically do that. The defenses that make use of an ellipse make use of the strengths of an ellipse already. But yeah that would be possible.

    Ben McSweeney

    With an ellipse you are asking for your opponent to flank you and come at you from the sides. And then if he pushes your circle out you're in trouble.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10510 Copy

    KalynaAnne

    So when you have multiple points, that are like a point where there are multiple things, could you bind multiple things to that point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um yes, and you can always bind multiple things to a point--

    KalynaAnne

    Oh you can always bind--

    Ben McSweeney

    So you can bind a chalkling and a circle to the same point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but it's going to make it weaker, so you don't usually want to do it. 'Cause you are better off to just stick circle on and get multiple points on of that...

    KalynaAnne

    But if it had multiple ones, would that make it less bad to join two?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    KalynaAnne

    So it doesn't--

    Brandon Sanderson

    It doesn't. Good question!

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10511 Copy

    KalynaAnne

    So, 9-point circles are important... You can get all the different point placements as special cases of the nine point circles.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh-huh.

    KalynaAnne

    You can also get 5 point; is that valid Rithmatically?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that would work.

    KalynaAnne

    And 8-point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    8-point they haven't done very much experimentation with.

    Ben McSweeney

    But you could!

    Brandon Sanderson

    But you could, yeah.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10512 Copy

    Questioner

    We got a RAFO ticket so--

    Ben McSweeney

    Did you actually get a card? Those are so cool. I've only gotten one, and I've been working for this man for five years.

    Questioner

    You have to ask more questions

    Ben McSweeney

    I basically have to hit him at a signing and then I'm not supposed to be taking them from the fans.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. The thing is, he can have the answers he wants.

    Ben McSweeney

    I get some. You RAFO'd me once.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I RAFO'd you once.

    Ben McSweeney

    I actually think that's how I got the card. 'Cause I did it and you were like "No."

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10513 Copy

    Questioner

    If you had to be stranded on an island with Patrick Rothfuss forever, who would drive the other one more mad?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ummmm, boy...

    Ben McSweeney

    That's a pretty good one.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a pretty good one. I don't know who'd crack first. We're both kind of quirky guys, we both have our writer's egos. I would just fear for a third person trapped with us. *laughter* We'd just go to our separate sides of the island and write books for each other.

    Ben McSweeney

    You'll just yell at each other about where is your next book. "I finished mine, where's yours!"

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's in the sand over here, where's yours...

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10515 Copy

    Ben McSweeney

    *in response to a discussion about RAFOs* There was the one about what painspren look like.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, what do painspren look like on the Cognitive Realm.

    Ben McSweeney

    That's a RAFO.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO because it is actually relevant to future stories.

    Ben McSweeney

    It'll be important.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not that it's a big deal, but I got to hold some stuff back.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10516 Copy

    Questioner

    She wanted to know, the safehand, is it always the left hand or is it--

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is.

    Questioner

    That's what I thought, she thought it was just the non-dominant hand.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope, it is the-- So it's rough on lefties. But remember, most non-nobles they just wear a glove, so it's not such a big deal for them. It's when you're noble and left handed that you kind of have a problem.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10517 Copy

    Questioner

    What’s the hardest power you've created to find a balance for?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hardest power to create a balance for? I'd say first is Wheel of Time, but I didn't create that... Hardest to balance… They've all been fairly easy so far. My guess is that it will end up being Stormlight just because I am doing so many books in that world, and I'm not resetting characters as much as I am in Mistborn, that I'm going to have to be careful about power creep... That's an excellent question.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10518 Copy

    Questioner

    And are there established trade routes between Epic-controlled areas?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Are they patrolled by Epics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Umm, yes to an extent. For the most part you know that if you hit an Epic's trade caravan you're all dead, y'know? So they don't have to worry about it that much. But some are patrolled. Not by the Epics, but by their people.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10520 Copy

    Questioner

    In the book [The Way of Kings] you discuss that if you were to lose a piece of Shardplate you have to regrow the part back, or else someone takes it and tries to regrow the entire plate. One thing that has been bugging me for a while now is if you were to take a small piece of the armor, such as a glove, and fuel it with Stormlight to regrow the whole armor, does it retain the original armor? Like does it retain how it looked before, the glove?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes

    Questioner

    So it just transfers over.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, and the original glove will disintegrate.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10522 Copy

    Questioner

    There's a huge movement in the genre, almost away from heroic, truly good figures and it seems to me like a lot of your books are kind of, there is some darkness in them but you are holding really tight to the light… What do you think about the idea of the true heroic character and where they're going?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that people can be truly heroic and I'm happy that the genre has lots of room for different types of storytelling, but the books I'm most interested in are the ones that are people still trying to do what is right, and so that's what I want to write about.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10523 Copy

    Questioner

    I've been watching some of the videos online and you say writing-- ideas are cheap, and they are, you can get ideas pretty easy, but how in the world do you get-- I can get the beginning and figure out an end but how do you do get all the stuff in the middle?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So if you've got your end, try and say what things, try to get a brainstorming session where you write with bullet points underneath it what things will help me earn this ending so that it feels-- that it has the emotion that I want. And try to brainstorm five or six things and make those waypoints along the way, if that makes sense, between-- Where it's not just one point and two points, it's five points, "I'm going to hit this one, this one, and this one" and if you can come up with four or five interesting things to happen through the end of your book that you can earn that way you're going to have a sequence of like twenty touchstones that can each form a chapter or a couple of chapters that you can work on to get to that ending.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10524 Copy

    Questioner

    Why did, when Alcatraz got his father's soul back, why did he poof back wearing his suit? Since when you get turned into one they're incinerated, your clothes are gone. Why does he have his?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Why did he have his? Because he was prepared for this. He was ready and he had done something so it wouldn't go that way.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10525 Copy

    Questioner

    Are going to do anything else in that world [of Dreamer]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably not. She [Charlaine Harris] wanted me to write a horror story, and I'd never written one before so I said, "All right, what is the most frightening thing I can think of?" The most frightening thing I could think of was the kids who play Xbox having power over real people’s lives, and that’s where that story came from.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10526 Copy

    Questioner

    As a physicist I appreciate you being so consistent with your magic systems.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is something I try very hard to do, though I do recognize that we do bend a lot of rules. When we were doing the time-based one in this [The Alloy of Law], I'm like, "Oh, boy, redshifts. Oh, no, conservation of energy." We had to do some bending to make it so that the radiation from the light passing out of the time bubble wasn't deadly.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10527 Copy

    Questioner

    I was deployed in Afghanistan when I read The Way of Kings. And I was wondering how do you put yourself in the mind of a soldier?  Because it was very--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have a good friend and I asked them when I interviewed them and that was a big help to me.

    Questioner

    When they got to the Shattered Plains it felt like I was reading a story about myself--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh really?

    Questioner

    Reading about how the rank structure, that was really-- It wasn't quite the same but--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've got a good friend. His name is actually Skar--he's the bridgeman Skar, I put him in the book because he helped me so much--who is in the army. He had lots of advice for me on how to make everything work.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10528 Copy

    Questioner

    So [Edmund] is Conflux, and you say the Epics are supposed to turn evil. How come [Edmund] hasn't turned evil yet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well they think it is because Edmund is a Gifter and isn't using his powers directly. That's their philosophy on it. Whether that is true or not remains yet to be seen.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10529 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you think any of your characters have ever been influenced by people you know in real life?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it happens. It definitely does happen. Sarene, from Elantris is based on somebody. Most of Bridge Four is friends of mine, most of the lesser Bridge Four members. Not the main ones, but like Skar is a friend of mine, Drehy is a friend of mine, Peet is a friend of mine.

    Questioner

    So I was going to say-- What about, what's his name?

    Ben McSweeney

    Lopen?

    Questioner

    Yeah, Lopen.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, not the core group. Not Lopen or--

    Ben McSweeney

    None of those guys.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But everyone else is like a cameo of my friends that I stuck in Bridge Four and, y'know,  then mutilate in horrible ways.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10530 Copy

    Questioner

    I am doing a GURPS rpg right now where my character is a lawyer and I'm in law school. And I was wondering if you have ever considered having a character in the books who is a lawyer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    An attorney? There is a story I've wanted to tell forever... I'll never do it. But it's one of those ideas. I wanted to do a story where aliens come down and decide that throughout human history possession of land indicates ownership, by our historical record. We have to convince them in court that that's not the way we do things. They just want to annex the planet. "Look at the Americans. You just took this land and said it's yours. So we want to do that to your planet." And have a science fiction story that is a legal battle about why they can't take over our planet.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10535 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wondering if Sazed was based on any of your own explorations when you were developing your own path?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, definitely he is a part of me, but there are big things that are different from me as well. Really the main concept for him was "the Missionary for Every Religion" and that was a cool idea to me.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10537 Copy

    Questioner

    I had another question, did you ever read books by other authors to get your ideas?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes I read a lot of books by other authors and what I usually do is I will read something and if they did it really well, I don't want to do anything like it. But if I think they messed it up then I'm like "Oh I need to do a story that does this the right way" Does that make sense? It is one of the most fun parts of being a writer. You can watch a movie and go "Ah they totally did this the wrong way... and then do it yourself, the way you want it to be.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10538 Copy

    Questioner

    I had one that you were going to answer when I came?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah. So, he secretly feared people who weren't intimidated by him. Remember he was a night watchman before. And anyone who didn't respect his authority, that was his secret fear. He wanted everyone to obey him and when no one was afraid of him he lost his powers.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10539 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have kids?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do I have kids? or pigs? 'Cause I have both, the kids are the pigs. I have three young boys, they are 7, 5, and 2. They are too young to read my books. We spend time reading Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, that's a very good book, or Supertato, one of their favorites, about a potato who is a superhero.

    What do they think? I don't think they really get it. They don't understand, they're like "Daddy is working on his book" and my son will be like "I'm going to write a book too!" And it's like one picture on a page with one word "Hat" or something and he'll be "I wrote one, why does it take you months Dad? This took me an afternoon." I hope that someday they will enjoy them and be able to come on tour with me and things like that. Excellent question.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10540 Copy

    Questioner

    You talked about creativity earlier, and if you look back on your career until this point as a writer, how have you changed over that time? What has writing done for you as a point of self-improvement?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What has writing done for me as a point of self-improvement over the course of my career. That's excellent. I discovered writing when I was 15, that was when I was this young, gangly boy who is trying to figure out what to do with his life and I found solace in books and writing, which I had not done when I was younger. It was a teacher who handed me, it was a book called Dragonsbane, when I was 8th grade that changed my life. What it did, right off the bat was give me purpose, and that is so important. Knowing there is something you want to do. All through college, you know I had friends who "I'm taking this degree because it's what was expected of me but I don't know if this is what I want to do". I knew what I wanted to do, and knowing that-- that alone has been worth it's weight in gold.

    Spending the time writing and practicing gave me confidence, that's been very important. Like when I finished that first book, it took me three years to write it. I said "You know what, I can do this. I can create this thing." Then being able to see myself get better and better and better, the confidence from that was great.

    The big decision I also made late in my career, before I got published, I had to decide who I was doing this for. Because once you've got a dozen unpublished books, you start asking yourself the questions everyone is asking you. At the end I just decided this idea of "I'm just going to keep doing this. If I am 70 and I have a hundred unpublished manuscripts on my dresser. I love doing this, it is very fulfilling. I'm getting these stories out of my head, I can see myself getting better. I'm not going to be a failure if I have a hundred unpublished manuscripts, I'm going to be more of a success than if I never wrote them." And that decision is what drove me to write The Way of Kings, because before I'd been really hunting how to get published and trying to write things like I saw getting published and people kept telling me "Your books are too long" so I've been writing these shorter ones. And I just said "I don't care what you people are saying, I'm going to write the most awesome epic of the style I would love to read, that I don't feel enough people are doing. It's going to have this crazy world and all these characters and all this stuff and I know no one is ever going to want to publish it, but I'm going to write it" And that's when I wrote The Way of Kings, it was right after that decision.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10541 Copy

    Questioner

    So is there one book from college that you were forced to read that when you look back now was the best reading you've done?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One book that I was forced to read. That was the best reading-- Probably Paradise Lost. I now think that book is awesome but when I read it when I was younger I was like "Ahhh what is this aehhhh epic poetry noooooo".

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10542 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you consult with other fantasy authors? Or do you keep things close to the vest *audio obscured*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do I consult with other fantasy authors? Or do we keep things to the vest? We consult a lot. We talk to each other a great deal. The ones that I know best are the ones I often go to but sometimes-- I talk to Pat Rothfuss quite a bit, and Brent Weeks, we're kind of in the same area but with three different publishers and that's really useful to us. I consult with my Writing Excuses buddies all the time. Somebody who knows a ton that I don't know very well but I know he knows a ton so I'll often ask him question by email is Cory Doctorow. He just like knows everything. We talk a lot, whenever we can. Because it is a very solitary business, so having people to talk to about it is great.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10543 Copy

    Questioner

    What is your favorite Aspect to write in /Legion/?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What is my favorite Aspect to write in Legion.  It's J.C. by a mile. *laughter* Can you guess who J.C. is based off of? ...J.C. is based off of the actor Adam Baldwin, from his various roles. He's almost always played someone with the initials "J.C."  Go look it up. That's Jayne from Firefly or from Chuck and things. I just think he is hilarious. In my head that is who would play J.C.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10544 Copy

    Questioner

    I would want to know what is your favorite character you've ever written.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What is the favorite character I've ever written. I actually can't pick one, because they are like my children and picking a favorite child is basically impossible. I don't have one. Robert Jordan, I quote him a lot because I studied his life a lot, he always answered this question by saying "My favorite character is the one I'm working on right now" and I like that answer.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10545 Copy

    Questioner

    One of my favorite aspects of your books is you always have this character that kind of has a submissive personality starting out and they evolve into a more dominant personality. Do you have an author for a series that kind of inspired this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Inspires me? He says frequently I have a character who's in a submissive position that becomes dominant through the course of the series. Do I have an author that I'm relying on specifically. No more than the "Hero's Journey", the general idea of the person growing and becoming master of their domain where once they were not. I don't think I have a specific person I'm looking at for that. But it is a fun type of story to tell, just because of the way you can show progression with a character.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10547 Copy

    Questioner

    Are spren molecules and atoms that rearrange in our minds to create them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A good question, are spren molecules and atoms that rearrange in our mind to create things. No, they're not. Spren are entities from the Cognitive Realm, who have gotten pulled through in Roshar. It is something that doesn't exist on Earth, the Cognitive Realm, pulled through by human intervention. The way we think about things and personify things.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10548 Copy

    Questioner

    What happened to Alcatraz?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What happened to Alcatraz. Well he almost got sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of Evil Librarians but he survived to write his autobiography-- No, you mean the books. I wrote the fifth book this summer after researching for The Aztlanian long enough that I realized I have to do more research before I can finish it. So I stopped, knew that I wanted to write another middle-grade, so I stopped and wrote Alcatraz 5 and gave it to Tor. They're planning to publish it next year. They're going to start with Alcatraz 1 in January with new art and things like that, publish those first five and do the sixth book sometime in June-- Or fifth book in June is what I think. So republish the first four and then publish the fifth.

    Firefight Atlanta signing ()
    #10549 Copy

    Questioner

    What can you tell us about the Mistborn video game?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What can I tell you about the Mistborn video game. We are still working on the Mistborn video game. The same producer has the rights but the developer that we were hoping to use has fallen through and they have moved on. This is the third time we've moved to a new developer. We do not plan for it to come out this year. We keep pushing it back. I'm sorry. But the good news is the movie seems to be kind of inching forward again finally, so if the movie gets made that will push the video game to come out. And if a video game comes out that might push the movie to come out. So they are kind of intertwined and working well together.

    FAQFriday 2017 ()
    #10550 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you ever have crazy ideas that are too crazy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This happens all the time.

    Greatness is often born of brashness. Of a reckless, bull-headed intent to do something everyone tells you is stupid. Sometimes, the best ideas are the ones you can't articulate in brief, because distillation ruins the very performance. Reduce a symphony to three notes, and it will seem pedestrian. Some ideas take to summary with ease. For others, explaining them is like trying to help someone climb Mount Everest after they say, "I'd like to take the quick route, please."

    As a writer, you grow accustomed to saying, "It will work when I write it." You get use to saying, "I can do this, even if everyone tells me I can't." Becoming a writer in the first place is often done in defiance of rational good sense.

    And sometimes, you're wrong. You try to prove that the idea works, you OWN it…and it's just not working. You're convinced it's your skill, and not the idea. If you could just figure it out…

    This happened several times on The Wheel of Time. River of Souls, the famous deleted sequence from Demandred's viewpoint, is one of these. Perrin's excursion into the Ways in book 14 (also cut) is another. Early on, I pitched Perrin deciding to follow the Way of the Leaf to the team–but I wasn't actually serious on that one. More, I was in a brainstorming session with Team Jordan, and throwing out things that could possibly fulfill Perrin's arc in an unexpected way.

    The 10th anniversary of Elantris has some deleted scenes, and the annotations talk about how in that book, I originally decided to have Hrathen turn out to be of a different nationality (secretly) as a twist at the end. The man who was doing all these terrible things was from Arelon all along!

    That was stupid. It undermined much of his arc. It was a twist to just have another twist–in a book that already had plenty. Early reactions from Alpha readers helped me see this.

    Lately, I've been trying to do some things with backstory and "cosmology" for the Stephen Leeds (aka Legion) stories, and Peter's not sold. We'll see if this turns into a "it will work when I write it" or a "That's a twist you don't need, Brandon."