There's been enough speculation that an Elantrian world hopper appears in Way of Kings and that an Elantrian world hopper wrote the Ars Arcanum in Alloy of Law to make it likely that by the time of both books, at least some Elantrians can world hop. So my question is, at the time of Way of Kings, does Sel have the most cosmere-awareness out of any of your Shardworlds (including ones we have not seen yet), or is there another Shardworld that's more aware of the greater cosmere at this time?
Sel is very cosmere aware at this point, but getting to and through Shadesmar (that's not the local term, by the way) is very difficult on Sel. That stunted them for a long while. They're still fairly far ahead.
In the Mistborn trilogy, the base 16 Allomantic metals separate into different groups like the Enhancement metals, etc. Given that there are 16 Shards, do they also separate into different groupings as well? For instance, are Shards like Honor and Devotion part of one 'grouping', with Shards like Cultivation and Endowment part of another?
Will the fact that Roshar and the Silence Divine planet exist in the same solar system come into play at all in The Stormlight Archive, or is that only relevant for later books?
It's mostly relevant for later books, but there are some things here and there.
My question is in regards to the writing system. In Warbreaker, when Siri is teaching Susebron to read, she mentions the letter "shash," which we now know better as a glyph from [The Way of Kings].
so onto the questions:
Are the two writing systems related, or is this a chance coincidence of names?
If they are related, did they stem from the same source? (i.e., do the people of Nalthis and Roshar both descend from a more ancient group of people?)
If I haven't gotten a RAFO yet, did the separation from these other people create the legends of being cast out of the Tranquiline Halls?
There are interesting connections around the cosmere between linguistics and some cultures. Though different groups of humans were created on different planets, the Shards all share a single point of origin. However, the Tranquiline Halls legends are not related to a Nalthis/Roshar connection.
Shinovar seems more earthlike than the rest of Roshar; does this occur naturally or was it somehow changed to be that way?
You've already given some information about the origins of the custom of a safehand (feminine arts being those that can be done one-handed) but why the word "safe?"
It grew out of the culture and linguistics somewhat naturally; nobody 'named' it that.
You said that a person can have more than one Shardblade--can they be dual-wielded?
Someone did exactly this in the original draft of Way of Kings, back in 2002.
Since we generally don't see inhabitants of your worlds refer to their planets by name, where do the names come from?
From world-hoppers, Shards, and those who know about the cosmere.
Is Honor the only one who created people on Roshar?
What would happen if you gave [a mistwraith] a spike imbued with steel Allomancy? I'm assuming that wouldn't be enough to grant it sentience but could it then use steel powers? Can you give Allomantic powers to a kandra?
Hemalurgy can give Allomantic powers to a kandra. The process to do so is not known to anyone but Harmony.
How intelligent is a mistwraith? Could you raise and train mistwraiths like dogs or horses, controlling what forms they take by the bones you give them? Would you be able to train yourself a horsewraith steed by giving it only the bones of a horse?
This is feasible. One thing to keep in mind is that mistwraiths are people who have a blockage between the Physical and the Cognitive Realm, messing with their ability to think. Think of them as mentally-stunted people. There's enough there to train, but then you have to dig into the ethics of it...
I am formerly a Sergeant in the United States Army Reserves. Having read all of your work except for your Wheel of Time additions, I couldn't help but to see that you have a good grasp of leadership displayed in your writing. When I finished reading the scene in The Way of Kings about Kaladin ordering Bridge Four to carry their bridge into battle in a way that would protect them, but ended up causing defeat for the rest of the army, you wrote a well described contrast between an NCO and a high ranking officer (not saying an officer would act like Sadeas by the means of using bridge men like he does), and how the two types of leaders look at battle. I was wondering, do you draw from your own experiences, or study others, or something entirely different you use when you write leadership roles in your characters and how they act in different situations utilizing that trait?
That's very flattering to hear. I've made a study of leadership in many different areas, the military being one of them. It's a topic that fascinates me, and I try hard to get it right. I wouldn't say I have any practical experience in it, unfortunately--just a lot of study, questioning, and curiosity.
After reading The Way of Kings, I couldn't help but to wonder this: hypothetically if there were two equally skilled combatants in every way, one armed with a Shardblade and the other with a Lightsaber, and take magic and the Force out of the equation (except for the weapons themselves), who would win? And yes, the Shardblade would have already been summoned and the two are just squaring off in a dual. Have fun with it.
A lightsaber is actually a little more easy to wield than a Shardblade, I would guess. Shardblades were designed to fight something larger than another person; you don't actually need all of that size when fighting someone. So that gives a slight edge to you average Jedi. If it's someone like Szeth, who has a more modestly sized Blade, then I don't honestly know.
What are the smoke-y spren that appear around a dead chasmfiend?
They are in a symbiotic relationship with the chasmfiend, and are part of what allow the creatures to grow to the size they do with an exoskeleton. (Along with a high-oxygen, lower-gravity world.)
Is there a functional/structural difference between modern-day Shardplate and the stuff the Radiants wore? Did the Radiants have to use infused gems to keep their suits going or could they just 'breathe in' Stormlight and feed the suit off of their 'inhaled' reserves?
Something is different. You will find out what.
Dalinar ever getting an honorspren? :D
RAFO. (You knew I'd do that.)
What's the closest that humans had gotten to the 'inhabitable' zone of the planet during the events of the first Mistborn trilogy?
There were groups who would go out there to escape the Lord Ruler, and the Final Empire in general. Survival was practically impossible. It's possible someone might have gotten across to the southern continent, but it would take a small miracle.
What's up at the south end of the world (during the 'closer to the sun' phase)? Life there? Cultures? Allomancers? Assuming that there is some life down there, can we assume that we'll have some interesting 'culture clashes' in future books?
They will be known by the modern trilogy, so it's safe to assume that a discovery will happen soon. Either during the Alloy of Law era or soon after.
When Scadrial was closer to the sun, can we safely assume that the middle section of the planet was scorched clean of anything living? Could there have been some underground life thing going on? Anything cool or interesting sitting out there (like ruins or some lost technology)?
The middle section was scorched pretty clean. I know of a few interesting tidbits, but it's not technology. (The tech level before the Lord Ruler took over was nothing particularly special, early industrial era.) The cool and interesting things are on the southern continent.
The Way of Kings was named after an in story book, as is the would be Shallan's book if you don't change like you siad you might "The Book of Endless Pages", do you plan on naming all the books in The Stormlight Archive with in world literature?
That was the original plan.
In [The Hero of Ages], what spooked Vin off from meeting Hoid? (My theory is Ruin's infulence, because he didn't want Hoid interfering(sub question that just occured to me. Was Ruin aware of Hoid on Scadrial?)
What would Hoid have told her if they had talked?
Ha. Well, by this point Hoid had been to the Well--getting there just before Vin--and had retrieved something from it. That should have been enough to get him to leave the planet entirely, but he got involved in events. (He tends to do that.) It's pie in the sky, but I would someday like to do parallel novel to the Mistborn series with Hoid in the background like they did in the second(?) back to the future move. I don't know that I'll ever be able to do it, but we shall see. I would answer this question there.
Can male members of the Idrian royal family and or Returned grow out their facial hair at will? If so, can this lead to epic beard competitions?
Are spren Cognitive aspects?
:) You guys are figuring this all out pretty well. I want to hold off on talking much about the nature of the spren because the characters in-world are discovering this as the books progress.
Are Dawnshards the same thing as Honorblades?
In one of the death sentence things it says something like three of sixteen ruled, but now the broken one reigns. Is this referring to the Shards on Roshar and if so, is the broken one Odium?
Is Szeth bound to his Oathstone by anything but honor (not the Shard. No loopholes here ;) )?
Szeth mentions that Lashings don't work with shardplate (on?). Is there any way to get around this (As in, lashing with Shardplate on, or lashing people with Shardplate on), and, if so, does it have anything to do with the Knights Radiant and/or their Ideals?
This has to do with the nature of the magics in the cosmere. They interfere with one another. Something that contains a lot of power--we call it Investiture--resists the efforts of magic to influence it. A strong spirit can interfere as well.
And finally, to speak non-canonically, would burning copper mask someone channeling the one power, and would burning bronze allow one to detect when someone was channeling?
Uh... You should ask Kelsier. He probably tried it when he hung out with Moiraine.
Could an iron Twinborn "fly" by drastically increasing his weight, pulling hard on a counterweight so it flew above him, then decreasing his weight drastically and pulling himself up by the counterweight, and repeating?
It's plausible. It's kind of a 'Thor-like' way to fly, isn't it? (For those unaware, he throws his hammer and it carries him with it, and STOP THINKING.) I played with this idea, but the trick is not getting hit by the counterweight as you pull it to yourself. If you could stop that, you might be able to manage it, but it felt pretty hard to pull off to me.
What are the chances that you will eventually write a fifth Alcatraz book?
Does Alcatraz ever actually end up tied to a stack of encyclopedias, about to be sacrificed by evil librarians?
I bought the rights to the Alcatraz series back from Scholastic earlier this year, and they were given a 'sell-off' period to sell the rest of their stock. I now own the rights again free and clear, and will probably be putting out an omnibus ebook. (Perhaps a print one with Tor as well.)
I can now write the fifth book (which Scholastic did not want.) It was always planned as the book where he ends up on that stack of encyclopedias. I'll do this sometime next year, hopefully.
It seems that certain colors and numbers appear frequently in specific Cosmere books, like the number 5 in Warbreaker or red and blue in Elantris. Do these colors or numbers happen to refer to a specific Shard, and if so, would they be consistent across the cosmere?
Certain colors and numbers are important in reference to certain Shards.
What question do you wish that readers would ask you but that no one has?
Surprisingly, I get this exact question every few months or so. (Mostly in interviews.) I can never come up with something.
Is there a chance that any dead protagonists will miraculously come back (IE Vin, Elend, Lightsong) to help fight later battles? You have shown Kelsier having influence after he died, and Sazed makes a statement about keeping in touch with Vin and Elend.
I don't want to be unsympathetic to people's love for these characters, but I feel that as a writer I must resist the urge to bring back characters in this manner. I feel it would undermine my storytelling. I never want to get to the point where people read and the tension of a character being in danger is ruined by the thought, "Well, even if they die, they'll probably just be brought back in the future."
I'm not saying I won't ever do it, but I want to be very sparing. I like how Robert Jordan did it with a certain character's return in [Towers of Midnight]. It was foreshadowed, built into the story itself, and relevant.
There are characters--in the 36-book-cosmere-superoutline--who return when thought dead. Some have not met their perceived end yet, while others have. So it's going to happen, but I want it to be very rare.
Where did humanity originate in the cosmere?
The first planet with humans on it was Yolen.
Can we expect to see a fight between a Windrunner, an Awakener, and an Allomancer in one of the Stormlight books?
I've said before that it's unlikely that the Stormlight books will ever delve strongly into the connections between worlds. There will be some cool things happening for the cosmere-literate, but this series isn't focused on those concepts. I want it to maintain its plot cohesion for those who aren't aware of all of the behind-the-scenes stories.
Epilogue to Book Two should excite you, though.
Does Sazed's biological body still exist somewhere? If so, does that body still possess Feruchemical abilities?
Yes, it does exist, though kind of...blended-in, so to speak, as happened with the others when they Ascended. Yes, it still has his abilities, though they are kind of moot now.
Between the Parshendi and the Alethi harvesting gemhearts, how long has it been since a chasmfiend got to finish pupating?
Aha. I wondered if someone would ask that. Much like whaling in our own world, there is a big ecological price building for what is going on here. You are right to worry about this.
What's up with those fish in the Purelake?
Haven't you always wanted magic fish?
Are the Heralds native to Roshar?
RAFO (Man, you're good at asking those, aren't you?)
Could a Shardbearer materialize his or her Shardblade inside another person? What about something inanimate like stone?
Could a Shardblade sever a Nahel Bond? Could it slice a spren?
How extensively do you outline?
Depends on the book. Alloy of Law had a few pages. The Way of Kings had hundreds of worldbuilding notes. The outline for [Words of Radiance] sits open on my computer right now at...12 pages single spaced. It's maybe 2/3 done.
I am currently trying to write a book in which the world is drastically different from earth. Do you think it is too ambitious to start out with such a complex setting?
No, not at all. Just don't try TOO hard to describe every aspect of it. It's good to be ambitious. However, be careful to keep you number of viewpoints down for your first few attempts--that will spiral out of control faster than worldbuilding will. Don't feel the need to explain too much, keep the focus on the characters, and you should be fine.
Will you ever go into more detail about the dead original shardholders? I'd love to know what kind of people Tanavast, Ati, and Leras were.
They will all be characters in the Dragonsteel series.
Out of all your magic systems, which one would you choose to be a user of?
I'd be a Mistborn if possible. So many fun interactions. Not quite as powerful as some of those on Roshar, perhaps, but very fun.
Any advice for an aspiring fantasy writer? Besides the obligatory "Read a lot and write a lot!!!" Characterization advice is especially appreciated.
Well, I do have my lectures on this topic. Go to writeaboutdragons.com and listen to the characterization lecture. I think you'll find it helpful.
Do remember that your characters should have passions, goals, and flaws that are distinct from the plot of the story. They can sometimes align, but a character should have a life and passions outside of what happens TO them.
How did you portray Jasnah's atheism so well? As a staunch atheist myself, I think you did an absolutely brilliant job. Honestly, It made me happy that a religious person was trying to understand my mindset. Anyway, who did you ask to get such accurate ideas of atheist thought?
I found some really good atheist forums. Not the 'hate on religion' type atheist forums, but the kind with some serious depth. People asking one another about morality, talking about how they felt when people reacted to them being an atheist, and expressing their philosophy. I gained a great deal of respect for them during these readings.
From there, I went and chatted with some atheists I know to gauge if I had a good handle on things. It was important that I get this right, as it's different enough from my own worldview that if it went wrong, it would have gone VERY wrong and I'd have ended up with something insulting.
What has turned out better for you, starting with the characters, the plot, or the world when you are beginning the writing process for a book?
Any time I have the characters from the get go, I feel like I'm leaps and bounds ahead. Having a very strong ending in mind before outlining is also very, very helpful.
What is your favorite of your own books?
I can never answer this. It's like trying to choose your favorite child. :)
Where did you get the idea for your Adonalsium mythos? Did it develop in your head for a while, or did you have a sudden flash of inspiration.
Over time, particularly when building Dragonsteel as a novel. I was planning it as I wrote Elantris. Hoid has been around forever, long before Adonalsium became the central plot of his story. I have an old short story from the early, early, early days where he's on a planet trying to figure out how the local magic system works.