Recent entries

    Steelheart Chicago signing ()
    #10651 Copy

    Argent (paraphrased)

    Do the Spiritual and Physical Realms have names, like Shadesmar is the Cognitive Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Kind of, but not really. Shadesmar is just a rough translation of "Cognitive Realm" in the language of whoever first found out about it. Other people, planets, and worlds wouldn't call it Shadesmar - they would call it whatever their words for "Cognitive Realm" are. This applies to the Physical and Spiritual as well.

    Steelheart Chicago signing ()
    #10656 Copy

    Argent (paraphrased)

    Feruchemy is the "balance" between Ruin and Preservation. Would any combination of Shards create a "balance" magic, so to speak, or are only certain Shards compatible?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Feruchemy ended up being a balance system, because of how polar Ruin and Preservation were. Any world with at least two Shards will result in a similar phenomenon. 

    Argent (paraphrased)

    Like Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Like Roshar. There is something like that going on there.

    Steelheart Chicago signing ()
    #10657 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Was Calamity and its appearance in Steelheart just kind of an ad hoc? We know that it showed up about a year before the Epics started showing up, so people naturally assume one was the cause and one was the effect, but was that really the case and are both of them just the effects of something else?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Good question! I will say that this is something I've done before, so my fans will kind of expect it. I am aware of this expectation too, and I am careful about repeating myself.

    Steelheart Chicago signing ()
    #10660 Copy

    Argent (paraphrased)

    Pat Rothfuss recently worked with the folks from Albino Dragon to create a Kickstarted Name of the Wind deck of cards in which each face card features a character from the book. All those designs were discussed with Pat, and the final result is shaping up to be pretty spectacular. Are there plans, or if not - are you open to planning, - to do something like this for one or more of your own worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I know about Pat's deck, it's really awesome stuff! I can only say that I do have plans to do something similar, but you will have to wait for Words of Radiance to find out more about it.

    Steelheart San Francisco signing ()
    #10662 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Someone asked a really good question about inspiration of Sazed's crisis of faith and religion.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Brandon really opened up nicely here saying that he does a lot of research so that he can tap into how people really feel about their religions, and therefore not just argue his characters' religions from a token perspective, but hold something that feels a little more real. He said he often hits up forums for different religious beliefs and surfs there, because people tend to be very honest and passionate on forums, which gives him a nice basis to write from.

    Steelheart San Francisco signing ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    He was asked how many contracts he's had and has.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He started to talk about the story where he had a contract for Dragonsteel and another book, which became Rithmatist. He said the first book of Dragonsteel didn't turn out well, and that he wasn't ready to write that series, which ties in all of his universes as a prequel. And said he'd be avoiding more series where you have to really have read everything to get it until further down the line. Confirmed that the next several books are going to be Stormlight related, along with the in between Wax and Wayne books, Steelheart books and Rithmatist.

    Read.Sleep.Repeat interview ()
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    Octavia

    If Calamity did come (and most of us did not turn evil), what power would you want? Would you be a hero? Villain? Switzerland?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What power I would choose depends on how rational my brain is that day. It makes the most sense to have Wolverine's regenerative powers. At the same time, it's not like I'm jumping off cliffs or getting into fights. So I probably wouldn't do much with this power.

    But in the back of my mind, there's a part of me that says, "Boy, would I really love to be able to fly!" Which is why a lot of the magic systems in my books wind up dealing with people having powers that let them soar in the air.

    Honestly, I want to think I'd be a hero, but as I've mentioned, the reason I wrote Steelheart was because of a moment where I had intense anger toward someone else. And that moment of me imagining myself destroying someone else because of a minor annoyance is part of why I wrote this book. I was frightened of myself. I'd like to think that I'd be a hero. I'm worried that I wouldn't be.

    Read.Sleep.Repeat interview ()
    #10667 Copy

    Octavia

    Steelheart makes you feel a few pretty intense emotions. Were there any scenes in particular that you found difficult to write, because of these intense moments?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the very first scenes I imagined for Steelheart is where the main character David is trapped and pinned down. Certain things have led him to that moment and the events that happen right after that. (I'm not giving any spoilers, but those of you who have read the book will know what I'm talking about. It happens right after the motorcycle chase.) When I'm developing a book, I often go for a walk or walk on the treadmill and listen to cool music, my eyes closed, and ask myself, "What is the emotional resonance of this book? What's it going to feel like to read it? What scenes will make that happen?" This was one of those scenes. For me, it was the most important scene of the entire novel, so getting to it was a pleasure, but it was also an emotional and powerful scene to write because I'd been planning it for so long and wanted badly for it to turn out well. That can be really difficult for a writer when you've got something in your head and you worry. Can I make it turn out on the page?

    Read.Sleep.Repeat interview ()
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    Octavia

    Newcago was a HUGE surprise for me. I expected to see Chicago, but roughed up in a dystopian way. Instead you took a major city we all know, and made it completely new and interactive. The catacombs, in particular were really interesting to me. Did you base Newcago's catacombs off of a "real" place?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Newcago's catacombs were actually based more off of mid-eighties cyberpunk stories where you've often got this sort of techie underground, and I love that visual. I intentionally didn't want to take Steelheart in a dystopian direction, even though it technically is a dystopia. I just feel that the whole "wasted world" dystopia has been done so well by so many writers that I wanted to have something that felt new and different.

    When I gave Steelheart this sort of Midas power to turn Chicago into metal, I thought it would be cool to have these catacombs dug underneath it because the visual was so different and cool. The catacombs I've visited in various cities are, of course, awesome, but really I'm looking back at those cyberpunk books.

    Read.Sleep.Repeat interview ()
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    Octavia

    With Steelheart every superhero I've worshiped as a kid, was pretty much blown to bits and replaced with the scariest bunch of "supers" I've ever seen. How did you come up with the idea to take superheroes (and even today's, not even close to epic level, villains) and make them so amazingly evil?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was on book tour, driving a rental car up through West Virginia when someone aggressively cut me off in traffic. I got very annoyed at this person, which is not something I normally do. I'm usually pretty easygoing, but this time I thought to myself, "Well, random person, it's a good thing I don't have super powers—because if I did, I'd totally blow your car off the road." Then I thought: "That's horrifying that I would even think of doing that to a random stranger!"

    Any time that I get horrified like that makes me realize that there's a story there somewhere. So I spent the rest of the drive thinking about what would really happen if I had super powers. Would I go out and be a hero, or would I just start doing whatever I wanted to? Would it be a good thing or a bad thing?

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10671 Copy

    Questioner

    So if you burn duralumin at the same time as the metal that speeds up time, meaning stuff flows faster outside, would you basically warp into the future a long ways?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question.

    lunarubato

    I'm so sure! I'm so sure…

    Brandon Sanderson

    And I am not going to answer that question yet, because I don't... Because you are asking questions that they are going to be trying to answer in like five more books. So telling you right now would give spoilers for books way too far ahead in the future.

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10672 Copy

    swamp-spirit

    Does it take longer for spheres to charge on the western side of the continent?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, because of the… No it doesn't, but that's an excellent question. The highstorms are a little weaker, but that's more of a… Of it's been blunted from the-- It's not an-- Like if the continent, the mountains weren't there, they wouldn’t be weaker.

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10674 Copy

    swamp-spirit

    Is the Old Magic in Shinovar, and is this a result of something to do with Cultivation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Old Magic is at The Valley, which is not in Shinovar, which is… If you've got a book, I'll show you where it is.... Let's see where Issac's wonderful map is, the first big one… Right here. So the Valley's right there. So that's where you go in order to visit the Old Magic.

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10676 Copy

    Kogiopsis

    Kind of along the same lines, I just want to confirm something. If someone from Earth saw an Alethi, what ethnicity would they assume they were?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would-- The model I use are actually for the half-Hawaiian, half-Asians that are kind of common in Hawaii. That's the model I've used; I actually have one of their faces for Kaladin. So it would depend on what your perspective is, you might say-- some people might say Arab, but the model I'm using is kind of more Hawaiian/Asian mix is what you'd get. The only ones that would look Caucasian to you straight-up would probably be the Shin, though if you get someone who has Horneater blood-- The Horneaters might look-- they just-- they're gonna look like bizarre… redhead… things, but they might look Caucasian to you.

    swamp-spirit

    So would Shallan also be more towards that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, Shallan has lighter skin. But she still has the epicanthic fold, and so she maybe would look to you like a Caucasian/Asian mix? With red hair? So… Anyway, she would look fairly Caucasian.

    swamp-spirit

    I will attempt to send you excited fanart.

    Kogiopsis

    I've been picturing the Alethi as Indian, myself.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, yeah. Yeah, yeah, like East India? That’s a pretty good picture on them. That would work very well.

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10677 Copy

    Kogiopsis

    Are we going to see Native Americans in the Rithmatist series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes you will. The Native Americans have mostly moved to South America, but there's a Native American main character in the second book.

    Kogiopsis

    Yes!

    Brandon Sanderson

    What happened is the– a lot of them got pushed into South America, where the Aztec Empire is alive and well and strong. And so their perspective on what's going on is very different from the perspective happening in Joel's school, so you will see a different perspective on things.

    Kogiopsis

    Excellent.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was already dangerous though, what I'm doing, and I realize this, for those very reasons. Very sensitive issues. Like when I used the Mary Rowlandson account, which is kind of a controversial account as it is, I understood that I was potentially opening a can of worms.

    swamp-spirit

    But I mean, I really– I just want to say this, that I really appreciate as a reader that you go into diversity because I know it is a risk, and it means so much to readers to have you writing a different set of characters and people people can relate to.

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10678 Copy

    lunarubato

    Was Spook still alive when they figured out the Allomantic properties of cadmium and bendalloy and that sort of thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yyyes.

    lunarubato

    Okay. Follow-up, did he learn how to use them and travel into the future?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *laughter* You will find more out about Spook's fate, how about that?

    lunarubato

    That'll work.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It has not been– There is more coming about Spook.

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10680 Copy

    komekoro

    Wayne mentions a nervous habit that gets cut off, can you tell us what that nervous habit is?

    lunarubato

    Please.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Alright, give me the full context of this please...

    lunarubato

    It was after the battle on the train, and Wax basically… Wax basically says "There's worse things than being genuine. Why, before blah blah blah, before Wayne would, Wayne used to basically get so nervous that he'd start…" And then Wayne cuts him off.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, okay. Yeah, Wayne had a really, really, deep stutter when he was younger, and that, I believe, is what I was referencing.

    lunarubato

    Yay.

    Kogiopsis

    That's adorable.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So if you can imagine poor Wayne and his poor stutter.

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10681 Copy

    komekoro

    Is what Navani said about Dalinar's wife accurate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What specifically?

    Kogiopsis

    She says that she thought they could have been friends.

    swamp-spirit

    And that she's kind of the unassuming personality, the sweetness…

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, yes. That is correct.

    lunarubato

    Correct objectively or correct in her opinion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, definitely correct in her opinion. But yes. And Navani is something of a slightly untrustworthy narrator, but I would go with, in that case, the fact that she's saying it and not being angry and– Her natural instinct would be to hate this woman; that's how Navani is, and the fact that she doesn't probably means that in this case she's being pretty truthful.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    If you didn't see the Zane/Kelsier comparison later, I bring it up here. In a way, Zane's purpose in this book is to represent things that Vin never really had an opportunity to choose.

    She ended up with Elend. However, there is another option, and that was the option that Kelsier represented. The option that Zane represents. Despite her assurances to Elend that she didn't love Kelsier, there WAS something there. Kelsier had a magnetism about him, and since he died, Vin didn't ever have to choose between him and Elend.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    This fight is for the Allomancy junkies. I don't think there's another one quite as technical as it is in the entire rest of the series.

    I try to give variety to how my fight scenes are handled. The spar between Ham and Vin was quick and visual. This fight is all about pushes, pulls, and weight. I fear that it's pretty hard to imagine, and unless you're really into Allomancy, I suspect that many of you skimmed most of it.

    Yet, writing a book is about putting in lots of things for lots of different people, I think. Allomancy is fun because of its versatility–I can to all kinds of things with it. This was just one of them.

    So, if you really like how Allomancy works–with the pushes and pulls, the vectors, mass, acceleration, and all that, this is a present for you. A chapter really showing off what two Mistborn can do when expertly manipulating their powers.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
    #10686 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventeen

    So, now the Watcher is named. I didn't originally intend him to remain mysterious for so long. In fact, in the original draft, I had a viewpoint from him fairly early on. That's been moved back in this version, to make things flow more quickly at the beginning, but also so that you could form your opinion of him externally first. He has a. . .particular way of seeing the world, and I felt it better to introduce that later, so that it wouldn't overshadow the other aspects of his personality quite as much.

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10687 Copy

    Joshstormblessed (paraphrased)

    What is the stone that Gavilar gave to Szeth before he died?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Good question, there are clues to what it is. (I'm going to try to get this answer right) if you decode [Navani's notebook] in the beginning of The Way of Kings you will find some significant clues to what the stone is. The [notebook] has already been decoded over at the 17th shard but I've never confirmed that those clues are in fact there. So go tell the 17th shard I confirmed that and they will love you for it. 

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10688 Copy

    Joshstormblessed (paraphrased)

    I've noticed that in both Elantris and Roshar there are specific shapes to the cities and in both instances there are chasms. Is there a connection between the two worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Oooo:) Yes there is definitely a connection there. As you know all of these worlds are part of a universe and my magic systems share basic rules. So you'll see similarities.

    Joshstormblessed (paraphrased)

    And the chasms?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    *smiles mischievously*

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10691 Copy

    Mysty (paraphrased)

    Is Baxil's Mistress destroying statues of the Herald Shalash?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes. Actually in the prologue her statue is missing because Baxil's mistress came through.

    Mysty (paraphrased)

    Is Baxil's mistress Shalash?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I'm not going to answer that.

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
    #10695 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Someone asked Brandon why the general feel of Steelheart is so similar to Final Empire.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He said that was due to his love of heist stories. A group of thieves tasking themselves to do the impossible is just one of his favorite types of stories. Knowing this, Brandon did consciously try to make Steelheart a different flavor of heist from [The Final Empire].

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    B-more_freshout

    I think [Brandon] would benefit a lot from finding some kind of way in-universe to convey when we can be certain that the character is dead. Something like what we see of Vin and Elend in Secret History after they die. I think that he was trying to prove how definite their death was.. I don't know how he could realistically or smoothly accomplish this, but I think that until we see some proof beyond what is normally expected to see for a death, we can't be 100% sure that anyone is dead.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I've been thinking about this. Spoilers below.

    The issue is, resurrection is a major theme of the cosmere. The very first line of the first chapter of the first cosmere book starts with someone dying. The story is about his return to life.

    The death of Adonalsium, and the questions surrounding the persistence of his power, is THE single pervasive theme of the works. And so, I've returned to this theme multiple times--from Sazed's more metaphorical rebirth in Mistborn Three to Syl's more literal one in Words of Radiance.

    At the same time, the more this theme continues, the more it undermines the reader's ability to believe someone is really dead--and therefore their tension at worrying over the safety of characters. So we need a better "Dead is dead" indication, otherwise every death will turn into Sirius Black, with readers being skeptical for years to come.

    So, let's just say it's something I'm aware of. Josh, of the 17th Shard, was the first one to raise the issue with me years ago. We need a balance between narrative drama and cosmere themes of rebirth.

    dce42

    I figured Nightblood was your answer to dead is dead.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's certainly AN answer. But there are way more ways to kill someone in the cosmere--I just need to be more clear on how that works, giving the right indications to readers.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #10697 Copy

    Oudeis16

    Who made the script? Was it Isaac? Ben? Is the diacritic mark (that phrasing surely is spoilerless) something you guys canonically have, and is it something Team Dragonsteel would be willing to show the fans?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Isaac is in charge of the scripts of Stormlight. I give him words of description, and he makes the actual pictures--and does a wonderful job. I've told him he can explain the methodology.

    One thing to keep in mind is that we can't often do 100% in-world text for things like this, as (unlike Tolkien) I haven't fabricated the entire language. I've got bits and chunks, but not nearly enough to write in-world with full linguistics. So it's often "interpreted" for the audiences by writing it out in an Earth language, then writing it out using the Women's Script.

    This means you're not getting it exactly as it would appear in-world, if it were a real language. It's an approximation. (At least for now.)

    Oudeis16

    Yes, I totally get that part. Like the "steel alphabet", when we see it it's mostly just being used as a code for English.

    I don't know if you recall something like this off the top of your head, but is there an actual H in the script, or is that sound only produced by way of the diacritic mark? Like, the name Tarah. Is she T-A-R-A-T(marked), or honestly just T-A-R-A-H natively?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The "H" is a mark, as you suspect. You put it on another letter, transforming it into an "H" sound, but otherwise letting the word look symmetrical.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #10698 Copy

    namer98

    I just finished the audiobook this morning, and in the setting are rules about how to not provoke shades of the dead. The rules are in order of least to most severe:

    • Don't run
    • Don't kindle a flame
    • Don't draw blood

    The post script talks about how these rules were based on shabbos as presented in the Torah. It was just interesting to see a non-Jewish author (In this case, Mormon) base something off of Judaism.

    Brandon Sanderson

    :) Thanks for the thread.

    The Double Eye from the Stormlight books (inside front cover illustration of the magic in the hardcover of book one) has some roots in the Tree of Life also, and if you look at Alethi, you'll find some Hebrew poking through now and then.

    namer98

    I read all of your books as audio books because they are all so well narrated, especially the Wax and Wayne series.

    I will have to keep a better ear out for the Alethi.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It can be easy to miss, as I play with it a little first, fitting it to Alethi. But Moash came from Moshe, for example.

    MuslinBagger

    Is that a hint of things to come? Is Moash like Moses or something? He is, isn't he?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sorry. It doesn't mean anything other than "My editor is named Moshe, and I've always liked how the name sounds."

    PM_ME_LEGAL_PAPERS

    Speaking of which, there's a Lighteyes named Yonatan (a very Jewish name) that Wit insults in...I think it was Way of Kings. Is that based off of someone you know as well?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is indeed. (Look again at what he's wearing.)

    That's based off of my editor's nephew, who was included as a wedding gift.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #10699 Copy

    ExaltedHamster

    I feel like The Lord Ruler from Mistborn would be a pretty good example of black/white philosophy. ( [Brandon] feel free to chime in here if you want). Kelsier from the same book feels pretty red/white to me.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I always viewed Kelsier as red-black, personally. He loves his friends, and his team, but is counter-authority in a big way. He's extremely selfish and violent, but is bleeding toward believing in something more important as the books begin.

    sirgog

    This is interesting, I thought of Kelsier as about as mono red as you can get.

    Freedom and emotions - rage and love at various times - drive him.

    Never altruism, never malice. Just passionate rage.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can completely see that argument. However, Kelsier has a strong megalomaniac streak. He set up a religion to worship him. He spent most of his life as a thief, seeking to get ahead--and enrich himself.

    His arc is, to an extent, learning to allow the red side of him dominate the black side--but I still see him as a mixture of both. And you can see the malice on occasion (like when he dumps the body of the nobleman he's killed.)