Recent entries

    Steelheart Portland signing ()
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    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 ()
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    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 ()
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    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 ()
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    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 ()
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    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 ()
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    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 ()
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    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.)

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    trevorade

    Are you going to write all three books [of The Apocalypse Guard] at once or space them out a year or so each?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to try doing them straight, with a random novella separating them to give myself a break. I feel that Mistborn turned out very well from having had entire series perspective--and want to see if I can replicate that writing experience.

    yahasgaruna

    Man, does that mean no more Rithmatist in the near future? :(

    Brandon Sanderson

    We'll see. Rithmatist is a Tor project, and I need to do some Random House books for them. I'll get back to Tor books next year.

    yahasgaruna

    Yeah - I figured it was about having something for both publishers, since Tor has had the fair share of your writing time recently.

    Well, I'll read anything you write, so it matters little. I guess we can wait a few more years for the Rithmatist and the conclusion of Wax and Wayne. :)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Current Plan (though these things get shaken up) is as follows:

    Do the Apocalypse Guard Trilogy this year, moving into next year, with a novella between each book to take a break. That could take me up to roughly a year.

    Do W&W 4, Rithmatist 2, and the final Legion story over the next year. That will wrap up W&W and Legion, maybe Rithmatist, depending if I want two or three books.

    With my slate clean, I dive into Stormlight 4, write something bizarre and unplanned in-between, then go right into Stormlight 5 rounding out the first Stormlight sequence.

    But, as I said, these plans tend to shift a lot as I work on different books.

    Oversleep

    Any word on what these novellas will be? Are they cosmere? Reckonersverse or greater universe of Apocalypse Guard? Something else entirely?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The way my process works, I'll probably need to see what I'm excited most about when I write them--something that gives me a break from what I'm writing. I've got outlines for a couple of novellas I want to do, but I can't say which I'd end up doing.

    trevorade

    Cool. Does your "The Apocalypse Guard 1st draft" progress indicator refer to the entire trilogy or just the first book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm being ambitious, and trying to use the progress bar for the entire trilogy right now--since I plan to write it straight through.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Tindwyl's training

    I chose to only show a few sections of Tindwyl training Elend–I figured that these could get laborious if I did too many of them. This isn't "My Fair Lady," after all.

    We never get to see Elend learning to duel, for instance. As a writer, I tend to react strongly against things I've seen done too often. That doesn't always make me not include them in books, but sometimes it does. Training a man with the sword, for instance, seems to have been done enough that you can just assume that it happened–and imagine it happening–without me going into detail about Elend’s practice sessions.

    This scene that is included, however, is rather important. Elend's new look, and his decision to let his hair get cut, represent the first change we pull off for him: The visual one.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Elend on the wall

    Now you can see why Elend's proposal–giving him power to hold the city until he met in parlay with the kings–was such an important plotting device. Don't worry; I'll get into the problems with the proposal soon. It's by no means hard-fast, and I realize that a simple promise like this is not going to hold for long in the face of something like a siege.

    Still, it lets me set up the siege. This section here is actually one of the very newest in the book. I wanted a section that officially began the "siege of Luthadel" making it firm and fixed in people's mind, so that they would know for sure what the conflict was.

    Adding scenes like this one increased the size of some chapters far beyond what I normally write. This is one. It's interesting to note that, for a given book, my chapters tend to end up being around the same length. It's not completely intentional; it just happens that way. This book, however, has that rhythm thrown off quite a bit now.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, and the line "he was the type of person who could defy reality" in reference to Kelsier is one I stole from my friend Annie. She said it about me, actually. It was in reference to how I belligerently believed that I could do something like become an author–a job that very few people can have, and even fewer people can make a living at. She said it long before I got published.

    Always stuck with me.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixteen

    Vin in her room

    This first scene is a classical Brandon scene–a character studying, thinking, and exploring who they are in their own head. Some people find my narrative style–with the thoughts, the conclusions, and the debates in the head–to be a little slow. I can understand that, even if I don't agree.

    I like knowing my characters. A chapter like this really works for that, in my opinion. It seems to me that in too many books, you never really know a character's thoughts, feelings, and logic enough to understand why they do what they do. So, I spend time on those things.

    This scene is important for the decisions Vin makes about herself. She is not the type of person to second-guess herself. In a way, she shows some of the very things Tindwyl tries to get across to Elend later in the chapter. Vin encounters a problem, mulls over it, then comes to a firm decision to trust herself.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    This is, perhaps, the most overtly foreshadowing chapter in this book. I'm trying to tie quite a large number of threads together in this series, and it was a challenge to keep them all in the air at the same time.The events in this chapter, then, will wrap back around to things that happen near the end of this book and in the next book. Mostly, I'm showing the real danger of the mists–that there IS indeed a reason to fear them. Either way, remember one thing from this chapter. Some people were killed (and there's a connection between the two people you've heard described specifically as dying from the mists) some people got away, and some people had seizures, but then were all right later.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifteen

    The actions of this wildman here seem strangely logical to me for some reason. Everything he did simply felt right. Sometimes–well, most of the time–character work that way for me. It makes me worry, actually, that sometimes the characters are too clichéd. After all, if their actions and mannerisms come that easily to me, then maybe I'm not stretching enough.On the other hand, I feel that the characters act naturally because I understand them. If I really understand a character, then won't everything the do feel right because. . .well, that's just what they would do.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the first twinge of distrust between Vin and Elend. She doesn't tell him about seeing the Mist Spirit again.It's a small thing, I admit, but for me–as a writer–it was intended as a dangerous first step. Vin's ability to trust is still fragile. And, if she thinks that Elend will mock her or disregard her, she'd rather keep it in.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fourteen

    Yes, it was probably stupid of the crew to leave Elend alone with Tindwyl. I pushed this situation a little bit farther than, perhaps, is plausible. However, you have to remember how the Terris people are regarded by those in Luthadel. Terrismen are, in general, such kind and loyal servants that it’s hard for Elend and the others to feel distrust for one.I was very pleased with this scene when I wrote it. I'd known from the beginning that I wanted to bring another strong female character into this book, as well as give Elend a mentor for kingship. Tindwyl fills both of those roles remarkably well. She also gives us another look at Terris culture–it's always difficult in a book like this to distinguish the cultures from the people. If you have only one Terrisman in a book, then he doesn't just represent himself–he represents all of his people. And so, unless you show another side of that culture, the person and where they come from become the same thing.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    You might be curious to know that I based Elend, in part, on my editor Moshe. I don't know that it was conscious–in fact, I just noticed the connection while writing right now. However, the speech patterns and the way he thinks are very similar to Moshe, and I kind of see him in my mind as looking like a younger version of my editor. I guess I see Moshe as a sort of heroic guy.

    He wouldn't make a very good dictator either. But, then, I think that's a good thing, since I have to work with him. 

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirteen - Part Two

    This Elend scene here is almost a direct parallel of the scene in book one where Kelsier first introduces the plan to his people. Elend has a much harder time of it. In fact, this scene–in conjunction with the scene with the Assembly–is supposed to establish Elend as what he is: a man with great ideas, but poor leadership techniques. He's brilliant and scholarly, but he doesn't know how to get people to do what he wants.

    This is reflected in his speech patterns, and has been since book one. He likes to use the phrase "Now, see," followed by an observation. He doesn't command, and when he argues, he uses very passive sentences. All of this is–hopefully–makes your subconscious see him in a certain way.

    The only reason he convinces the crew to go along with them is 1) he's right, they like to gamble, and this is the type of plan they like and 2) they already know him, and his ideas have earned a measure of trust from them.

    When necessary, Elend CAN give a brilliant speech. He can make people dream and hope. He just isn't good at arguing, and is rather poor at being a dictator.

    This scene, by the way, is another substantially rewritten one. I focused a lot more on the idea that the crew was going to have to deal with a long siege in the rewrites.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirteen - Part One

    I hope this first paragraph isn't too overly-poetic for you. I have a tendency to dabble in writing poetic language, and can veer into sections of prose that are a bit over-written. But, my editor didn't strike this down, so I assume it's all right.

    The things Vin talks about in this first scene are, essentially, the things that will come to form the plot of the entire series. In the original drafts of the novel, she worried about these issues much earlier in the book. However, I backed off on them to let the siege take form first.

    It's not that these worries about the Deepness and the past aren't important–they're VERY important. And, they'll play a big part in this book. The armies and politics, however, are the established plot of the novel. This book–book two–isn't about the deepness. It's about the "What Next?" So the characters overthrew the empire. What's next? In my opinion, what they're doing now–struggling to keep something going, rather than tear it down–is far more difficult than anything they did in the first book.

    This grueling process is going to have a powerful influence on their characters, and make from them the people they need to become in order to deal with the events of the final book. In a way, that makes this the most important–and most interesting–book of the trilogy. It’s the one which is about character over plot.

    My goal with Vin, here, is to take the mists from her. Kelsier gave them to her in book one, and now it's time to take them away.

    They are the haven of the Mistborn. But, if you watch as the story progresses, you will see that I slowly take them away and leave her without.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The scene where Sazed walks along inside the Conventical and talks to himself, speaking into the coppermind, is what really appeals to me about this chapter. It isn't often that, as a writer, I get to do something like this–switch up the narrative style, let myself do a monologue in first person present tense. The tense shift is, I think, what lets these scenes be so creepy. You get to feel, I hope, like you’re with Sazed, walking along in the near dark, listening to a quiet voice-over that doesn't dispel the gloom, but just echoes back to you even more creepily.

    This was one of my editor's favorite scenes in the book as well. The part where Sazed describes where Inquisitors are made, and where he walks the corridors, with minimal narrative interjections by me gave this chapter a tone unlike anything else I’ve ever written.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    By the way, you probably remember form book one the way that Inquisitors see. They have such a subtle touch with Steel and Iron, and their lines, that they can see via the trace metals in everyone's bodies and in the objects around them.

    The thing is, any Allomancer with access to iron or steel could learn to do this. Some have figured it out, in the past, but in current times, nobody–at least, nobody the heroes know–is aware of this. Except, of course, for Marsh.

    And he chose not to share it.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twelve

    This chapter is meant to be our "pay off" chapter for the time we've invested into Sazed over the last few chapters. I, personally, think it's the coolest chapter in this section of the book.

    Feruchemy really turned out well as a magic system, and I'm glad I found a place for it in this book. It connects with Allomancy perfectly; I'm actually surprised at how well they go together. (As you may recall, I originally tried out Feruchemy in a book I now call Final Empire Prime.)

    Here, you finally get to see some REAL Feruchemical tricks. Sazed can do so much more than just make himself strong (like he did in book one) or memorize things. If you think about it, there are an awful lot of things that can be done to intertwine Allomancy–with its Pushes and Pulls–and Feruchemy, where a person can increase or decrease their weight.

    Figment chat ()
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    Questioner

    What’s the most dangerous non-Shard thing in the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nightblood’s up there, Hoid is up there, but not deadly dangerous, a different type of dangerous, yeah no, what we know of, right now, those, those are in the running. Chasmfiends, chasmfiends are pretty nasty. Whitespines are a little more nasty probably. The… the Unmade are pretty nasty. Yeah. There’s a couple of mercenary troops that you haven’t met yet that are really quite, quite dangerous, I would list them as well.

    Figment chat ()
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    Jason

    Can one give the Command, “divide and do thing X”, for Awakening? How many Breaths would it take to do something like a straw mannequin, how small could you get the pieces, how would you retrieve the Breath?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m afraid I would have to pull out my notes. I mean I wrote that book a few- 2006, and so we’re nine years away from me writing that magic system. I, I have it all in the notes, but I can’t off the top of my head rattle it off for you. People use Awakening so infrequently now in the cosmere, it’s just on the one planet with the occasional worldhopper, that I just go to my notes and get it out when I need it.

    Figment chat ()
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    Questioner

    If you, Brandon Sanderson, as a person were able to be gifted just one set of powers from any of your book series what would you have and why? How would you use them? Save the world? Become a tyrant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would probably pick *slight pause* Channeling from The Wheel of Time. No, I’d just be Doctor Manhattan. Sorry, he’s like all powerful, right? How would I use them? I would hope that I would save the world, and not become a tyrant.

    Figment chat ()
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    Questioner

    Are the character’s ages given in Stormlight Archive Rosharan years, or Earth years?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They’re Rosharan years. So, people are actually, it’s a little bit off from our, our world, a Rosharan year is 500 days, but the hour, the days are a little shorter, anyway they end being like when, when S- when Kaladin’s age is mentioned, in our world, he’d be a few years older.

    Figment chat ()
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    Questioner

    What is Perfect State about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, Perfect State, is about, the question I had was, what if the best way to make the most people happy in the univ- in the world was to create for every person their own individualized simulation, so they basically could live a fantasy novel. You, you’d take them when they were a baby, put them in this simulation, it’s kind of like, you know, The Truman Show, where something like this, except the whole world is designed to be awesome, so that they could have a wonderful, cool life, and, what would that be like? Less you know, like, manipulating them, or, ruining their life, or you know, putting them into a simulation to, to control them, and more, here’s you get to be the most important person in the world and grow up that way. So yeah, that, that’s kind of the premise.

    Figment chat ()
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    Questioner

    Besides the confirmed Knights Radiant at the end of Words of Radiance have we seen any characters that share the same orders with the current knights?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh boy, you’re putting me on the spot. N-n-n-n-n-n-n-yes you have. Yes. You’ve seen, I think you’ve seen several actually, but, yeah.

    Figment chat ()
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    Jason

    What can we expect from Dark One, specifically what kind of magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    the magic systems in Dark One, focus on, right now, on a person who can steal people’s souls and use them to make magic objects, mixed with an electricity type world, where the ground is electrified, and animals, plants and animals, have an, a symbiosis with electricity, like you’ll see a tree that has a Jacob’s ladder going up it, or you’ll see ah, a beast that uses spittle like a taser, that should be the next book that I work on for Random House after the Steelheart trilogy, so we will see.

    Figment chat ()
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    Questioner

    In transitioning from Merin to Kaladin, was there any plot sacrifices that were particularly difficult for [you]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. I had been disappointed enough in the way that Merin turned out in the original draft of The Way of Kings, that transitioning to someone more vibrant and more interesting in Kaladin really didn’t feel like a sacrifice to me.