Recent entries

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1154 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you think Roshar will invent waffle technology?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Waffle technology, I think they will... definitely. There may be a little work left to go.

    Questioner

    Will it be in Lift's time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *laughs* Yes, probably Lift's time. Yes, she would enjoy some waffles.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1156 Copy

    Questioner

    So, I was curious about Hoid and how he is sending letters to a dragon, while he is on Roshar and the dragon is elsewhere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. So, there is a courier service you can hire in the cosmere.

    Questioner

    So, it's like a Pony Express and that on the...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Not everything he's doing is going via that, but it is a thing that exists.

    Questioner

    Like, in the Cognitive Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, they have to go through Shadesmar. So... you can hire a very specialized group to get things where they're supposed to go.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1157 Copy

    Questioner

    I heard a quote that talked about a Shard we haven’t seen yet that only wants to be left alone.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    I have a guess but you’ll probably give me a read and find out.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I probably will but you can go on record.

    Questioner

    Isolation, I guess.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You are officially on record. I will give you your RAFO card.

    Questioner

    *Laughing* Thank you, very much.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1158 Copy

    Questioner

    What is the First Ideal of the Elsecallers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The First Ideal of all the... all of the Orders is the same. She's actually asking what the Second Ideal is and the answer is actually a RAFO, which means "Read and find out". I will reveal that... when... eventually.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1160 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you draw your own maps?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I used to and then have someone who know what they're doing redraw them. Now that I have... *other person interjecting* Yeah, like this Elantris map, I did a sketch of and then handed it to the artist and then the artist did a version. Now we have an Isaac version.

    Questioner

    Did you draw it before or after you designed what the city was made for?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah, I designed all... I'm an outliner, so I kind of had all of that in mind.

    Questioner

    You knew beforehand?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Beforehand, yeah. Nowadays, I just write and then Isaac reads it and then says, "How's this look?" and gives me a map and I say, "That looks pretty good!"

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1161 Copy

    Questioner

    Is physical travel between the worlds possible outside of...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, if you can get to Shadesmar, you can do it, but you can also do it... you could do it just... if you had FTL or if you were willing to just take a long, long time. If you had the means, you could. The cosmere is a dwarf galaxy, it's like a hundred star galaxy. I imagine it being a real place, but our world is not part of it, so.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1162 Copy

    tallakahath

    So, on Nalthis, in the Warbreaker universe, when the color's pulled out of something, is that a physical or chemical change or is that a perceptual change?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is actually a physical change, but the spirit of the thing is changing, and it's filtering through to the Physical Realm.

    tallakahath

    So, if I do that on a carrot, I can break beta carotin? If I do that on a piece of metal, I can reduce it and charge my battery that way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Potentially, yeah! Yeah, that would work, you're changing it's Spiritual nature.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1164 Copy

    Questioner

    When Odium and Dalinar were having their meeting in Oathbringer, Odium seemed kinda freaked out by something. Could it possibly be related to how Lift can interact with spren in the physical world, and that might cause some problems for him, <seeing the impossible>?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is weirded out by Lift, certainly. Lift is something that shouldn't exist, let's just say that. You'll find out why, probably in book 6? But she should not exist.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1166 Copy

    DoritoJH

    We know that there are spren that are partially of Honor, partially of Cultivation, and Odium. Can there be spren made of any combination of Shards?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Well, you would have to call them... Under that definition if you call a seon a spren, then yes. If you don't call a seon a spren, if you define a spren as, "On Roshar, related to the natural world of Roshar," then no. Theoretically yes, but it wouldn't really work. But it depends on how you define spren. If a Shard were to come and reside on Roshar like the other ones have, then you could theoretically see other new spren appearing out of them.

    DoritoJH

    Could there be a spren of all 16 Shards combined all at once?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *hands out RAFO card*

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1167 Copy

    DoritoJH

    So, AonDor is super versatile and powerful.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but region-locked!

    DoritoJH

    Yes, it is region locked, exactly. If a full Feruchemist using nicrosil were to create an unlocked medallion that allowed an Elantrian to store Connection to Elantris' location, would it let them use AonDor at full power as long as they were tapping that Connection?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. That should work just fine.

    ...

    Just understand that the medallion's going to have to be usable by everyone in order to work. You're going to have to jump through some hoops, but I think what you want there would work. And for those of you listening, that would be the harder way to unlock AonDor. There are easier methods.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1168 Copy

    Solfor (paraphrased)

    So the Iriali, their religion, the whole the One breaking themselves into the many to experience the universe. You also have Autonomy breaking themselves into many avatars. So I was wondering is Autonomy connected to the Iriali in any meaningful way.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    So are the Iriali connected to Autonomy in a meaningful way? 

    I'd say no. I mean they're slightly connected, but in a meaningful way, no, they're not connected.

    Autonomy did not start the Iriali religion.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1169 Copy

    Questioner

    The concept of bridge warfare and the life of a bridgeman was one of the most horrific things I've ever heard of. Was that inspired by something specific or...? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, there's a couple of inspirations. One is some of the first-hand accounts of World War One I read, where tactics changed so dramatically that people were being thrown into battle not understanding that this was just terrible tactics, you know, charging machine guns, that's, turns out, bad idea in a lot of situations. And the other half of it is being inspired by actual siege warfare.

    One of the things I like to do in my books is, I like to have fantastical versions of things that happen in our world, right? And this gives me a way I can look at history. I can read the accounts of, you know, what it's like to run a ladder, change it to suit my own desires and kind of have a bit more expertise where I can say, "In this situation, this is what they're doing." It allows people who know their medieval history to say, "Oh, that's cool," but also, at the same time, suspend their disbelief, right. Like, if you're a medieval historian and you're reading about actual siege warfare, I have to get it really right, or I'm gonna kick you out of the story. But if, instead, they're running bridges, it allows a lot of the mystique for medieval historians to say, "Oh, this is a different tactic, so we can't say one hundred percent what people would've done in that situation. I can enjoy the story too." And as long as I get enough right, that does that.

    So you see me doing that sort of thing quite a bit. Otherwise, I do try to get the things that I do right--as right as I can--but I was just visiting some nice fellows who were showing me their sword fighting in Plate. And you'll see, Shardplate is another thing like this. Actual historical plate combat... I wanted to have Shardplate divorced from that a little bit for the same sort of reasons, right? Number one, it allows me to have the kind of epic fights the way I want to have them, it allows me to draw out the fights. And you'll notice if you watch a lot of historical people reenacting fights, the Shardplate fights will look a lot more like people sparring nowadays and not actually trying to kill each other. And that's intentional, because I can watch a lot of those online, right. I can go to conventions like this and see people doing that. You can't see first-hand two people in plate actually trying to kill each other. And if I can make the fight realistically have a good reason why it would feel like a bout, you know, with Shardplate and things like that, instead of what you'd try to do in a normal plate battle is shove a dagger under someone's armpit, right? Well, that doesn't work in Shardplate, so what do you want to do? You wanna hit them in the same place a couple times. Feels a lot more like a sparring duel in our world, and it just allows me to have this line between realism and theatricality that I really like, and allows people who know a little bit about it to be able to like, "Oh, that feels real, but I can also enjoy it." You see me doing that sort of thing a lot.

    That's more than you asked, but that's occupational hazard, going on and on and on and on.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1170 Copy

    Questioner

    Could the Assassin in White assassinate Prof from the Reckoners?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Could he? Yeah, he could. Depends on what- which place in the books you would put him. But I would lay odds on Szeth in that one, in almost every situation. *laughter* Now, the thing is, it depends also on how familiar he is with Prof's powers, how much he's acting like an assassin, right? Which is what he's generally going to try to do, but... you know, Gavilar got a lot of warning. So, if Prof got a lot of warning... the more warning Prof has, the worse it looks for Szeth. But the further in the series Szeth goes - if you pick him from a different book--the more likely it is he's going to win.

    'Cause he gets a hold of something very important. *laughter*

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1171 Copy

    Questioner #1

    On Roshar, all the alcohol on Roshar is called wine.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep.

    Questioner #1

    Some of it is different from what we have on Earth...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. All of it, actually. Well, not all of it--there's some actual Shin wine that you would call wine.

    Questioner #1

    So, on Roshar, do they have distillation processes, or do they have some sort of super yeast that can go way higher than the 20% cap?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of what you're seeing we would just call spirits or liqueurs here. They do have some grain based things and stuff like that. They're not making beer, they're mostly making spirits.

    This whole linguistic thing is one of those little clues that I embedded for certain reasons that we won't go into. The reason they call everything wine, the reason that seasons... they call seasons and we're like, "Wait! Those aren't seasons!", and things like that... *with some audience nudging* Chickens is the other big one. This is all there for a specific reason, but the further we get and the better help I get from beta readers... thank the beta readers for the scenes in Oathbringer, where a certain character is getting drunk--they helped me a lot on that. The better information I get from the betas in these things, I write stuff and then they tell me "Ah Brandon, you know nothing about beer!" and I'm like "Well yes, I do not know much about beer!" *laughter* "So tell me..." and the better it gets. I'm trying to give you more and more in the books about that because it is important to specifically several of the characters, and so I wanted to get it right. But most of what they're drinking would be harder than what you might assume.

    Questioner #1

    So, distilled or brewed?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Distilled, mostly distilled.

    Questioner #2

    Are there fermentation spren? *laughter*

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say yes. There are probably fermentation spren. Because some of the lower... like some of the colors are actual fruit... like *asking back* what do you do when making wine, you're brewing wine, and *with audience help* pressing wine, and you ferment wine. And so, some of them you would drink and be like, "Okay, this is wine-like. It's not made from grapes, but its wine-like." A lot of the... further on the wheel, you'd drink and you'd be like "Oh, this tastes like Vodka! Why're you calling it wine?" Well that's what their word for alcohol is.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1172 Copy

    Questioner

    The areas where you have highspren living, does it have a connection to <Stormwall? the rift to the former world?>

    Brandon Sanderson

    So where the highspren... specifically?

    Questioner

    Basically does it...for example, do honorspren have a--are strong in that area, because...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh right, because they're living in like, Lasting Integrity? So... there are reasons why in Shadesmar the spren build the cities they do where they do. It doesn't always correlate one to one with the type of spren. Once in a while it does, but I would say as a rule of thumb, no. It's more about them finding a place that works for the geography of Shadesmar, and where they kind of just have political power and clout and things like that.

    Good question.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1173 Copy

    Questioner

    Is Khriss planned to be a major character in the future of the Cosmere, or will she be more of a behind-the-scenes source of knowledge?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do plan some more--some actual Khriss stories. I mentioned I had a Silverlight story in the back of my head--she would have been one of the viewpoint characters of that if I ever get to write it. She will be in the background of most everything, but I do plan a few stories, that will have her. She will come the forefront the more the cosmere comes to the forefront, and more interaction between them.

    For those who were curious, my plan for the Cosmere all along has been - now that I have something to point to, people say is it like the MCU? And, yes and no. I'm not developing specific characters to bring forward, some of them will of course will still be be around. My whole goal with the Cosmere is to push toward something a little bit more like Star Trek or Star Wars, in that lots of different cultures, lots of different things--more Star Trek I guess - interspace situation, the conflicts that come between cultures and ideals and things like that, is what I'm pushing for. Rather than taking like the champions of each book and having them. So the characters are important, certainly, but when you're reading a given book series, that's where your characters are important. If you're thinking about the future of the Cosmere, think more about the clash of cultures, is where I'm pushing that.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1174 Copy

    Questioner

    If a coppermind was to be split in half, would the contents of it be destroyed? Or would there be, in the two separate halves, <of different contents?>?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You should err on the side of being destroyed, though not permanently, is what I would say on that. There are ways to approach it that wouldn't, but generally if you're ruining a metalmind, the Investiture will stay in it, and if you know what you're doing you can make use of that, but in most cases, it's not gonna fare well.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1175 Copy

    Questioner

    We see the concept of savantism in First Era of Mistborn books. What does that look like on other systems of Investiture, more specifically Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So on Roshar, I'm going to RAFO this one for now. It's a little harder to make happen on Roshar for various reasons, but I'll give you a card. I'll just RAFO it.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1176 Copy

    Questioner

    One of my favorite characters is Kaladin. This is *inaudible* question. I just want to know if he will ever be able to make peace with that, at some point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, you get one of these. Here's you card, you can come up and get it. This is your RAFO card.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1177 Copy

    Questioner

    Would a Seeker burning bronze be able to tell what order of Knight Radiant someone is? Or what Surges they have access to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but they'd have to be actively using it, right? So you could hear somebody -- for instance -- Lashing, but if you just saw somebody who'd drawn in Stormlight, you probably wouldn't be able to tell until they use that Stormlight, which it was. You'd be able to probably hear that they have the Stormlight.

    Questioner

    So the pulses are not unique to Scadrial's Investiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No they're not. You'd be able to do that. In fact there are other things in the cosmere that are kind of the same sort of "radar detection" here and there, that you can read in the same way. Bronze is just the one of the best... way to do it -- being a Seeker is really handy for these reasons.

    Being able to go off-planet with your Allomancy also is a pretty big advantage. It's really hard, for instance, to get a Surgebinder off of Roshar, because of the Connection stuff that's happening. In fact you may have heard in a prologue just recently someone complaining about that.

    DragonCon 2019 ()
    #1178 Copy

    Rebeca

    What would happen differently if a person found a Shardblade and Shardplate that belongs to the same Radiant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is an excellent question. It happened way more in the past than it happens now, but certain Blades and Plates are historically kind of linked together. If you were knowing to look for a difference, you would notice a slight difference, mostly if you could speak to or sense the Sword, but it wouldn’t have a very big mechanical difference, if that makes sense.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1180 Copy

    Excelsius

    What's the biological reaction of a limb cut by a Shardblade, because they don't start to rot after being cut?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah they don't start to rot, so the bloodflow is still happening. The limb is still attached, it's not going to rot off, but the soul is dead. This is a thing that can happen in the cosmere that can't happen here. Because you have Spiritual, [Cognitive], and Physical DNA. Your soul's been severed in that part, and it just flops around. You can't feel it, you can't control it. It's something that, again, couldn't happen here.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1181 Copy

    Questioner

    I recently learned that Roshar is modeled off of the Julia set. This magical fractal concept. I would like to know who of you pulled that off, and are there more things that you are inspired by stuff like that?

    Isaac Stewart

    We both pulled that off. The Julia set, when we first did a map-- we almost didn't do a map for The Way of Kings. It was the last thing that we did. And Brandon said, "I think we need a map". And so we put that in and he gave me a picture of the Julia set and he said, "I want you to make this into a map". So we made it into a map, did all the coastlines and things. And then what was the--

    Brandon Sanderson

    The reason being, I had in the back of my head this whole idea with patterns and math and the idea that Roshar is a constructed world, built and grown. And I liked the idea of fractals and the idea of mathematical formulas and these things being the basis for where Roshar came from. Which, you know we've got a base ten world in a universe that's base sixteen. Well, base two, but whatever.

    It's this weird thing where Roshar I specifically wanted to have some of these mathematical underpinnings. So when I saw this computation of the Julia set running, it looked like a map to me. But of course, that happens a lot. Mathematical formulas, fractals, these things look like maps because maps are fractals. This is why we see-- Maybe you've seen it when paint peels on the wall, you might look at it and be like, "Wow that looks like a fantasy map". Or when rust forms, you'd be like, "That looks like a fantasy world!" I know that happens to Isaac all the time.

    Isaac Stewart

    The Mistborn world came about that way. It was from a rust-thing that looked a lot like what Brandon had drawn.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So when I saw that, I thought, "This is a world". And I filed that in the back of my head. Roshar, in the very first incarnation, had a different shape. That was the 2002 version I wrote. When I wrote it in 2009, I wanted a different shape. The map that I had drawn didn't work.

    Isaac Stewart

    You did ask if there are other things like that. I would just say pay attention to the Shattered Plains and pay attention to the shape of Kholinar. Among other things.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1182 Copy

    Questioner

    If you could co-author with any author dead or alive, who would it be?.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow. Well I already got to do that on my favorite author, right? So if I were going to pick another one-- Oh, I'd write a book with Oscar Wilde. That would be real interesting. That would be a lot of fun.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1183 Copy

    Questioner

    I teach at university, and I had to grade a paper about Way of Kings. It dealt with Colonial and post-colonial structures, religion, fashion, and language. Did you do that consciously or subconsciously, especially the colonization part?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's very conscious, that part. The Alethi are in part, based on the Mongols, particularly when the Mongols invaded China, then became Chinese culture, which I find a very fascinating period in history, where the Mongols became a Chinese Dynasty, they actually also became an Arab dynasty over in the Near East. It was just this really interesting thing. So you've got colonialism before colonialism happening there. And I was very aware with the subtext of the Parshendi being a major theme of a people that didn't just enslaved a people, they enslaved them and took away their minds, that I couldn't shy away from dealing with these topics and these concepts. You see as the series progresses, it becomes-- You've got people like Kaladin who are essentially good people, but not understanding at all even their own biases, which is how we all are. These are things I want to deal with, because I find them interesting. They're important now, but it's, I think, important to how humans work and interact and see the world. Because I think this has been happening since the beginning of our history as human beings. And so it's something that is fascinating to me, and something that I think a lot of us wrestle with, and I wanted my characters to deal with that.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1184 Copy

    Questioner

    Would the works you have not yet published ever be published?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably not, because they're bad. I found ways to fix some of them and release them in some form. White Sand was the best of them and we did graphic novels of those. Because the bad parts of White Sand was I went too long on the same ideas over and over. So we were able to trim those out and make graphic novels out of them and it worked really well. It's not impossible that the other good one, which is Aether of Night, could work that way. The problem with Aether of Night is, and you can find this online. We let the forum, the 17th Shard send it out to people. So if you go there and ask, you can get it.

    It feels like two books that are woven together. There's a romantic comedy, and an End of the World Apocalypse. And they just don't mix real well. And that's the big problem with that book. You can read White Sand by signing up for my mailing list. Most of them just aren't that good is the problem. Maybe Ill release them for free on my website or something.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1185 Copy

    Questioner

    There is also a thing with Alcatraz. The first time you wrote the book in third person, he was fourteen years old. And the published version, he is thirteen. And you don't explain that on the website. Why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The publisher asked me to age him down. Generally, when you're writing a kid's book, the book is usually-- You make the age of the protagonist, minus two years, is about the age that you're writing the book for, when it's for teens. And they felt that about eleven-year-old was about where that book should be. So they asked me to age him down.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1186 Copy

    Questioner

    Did you do the annotation process while you were writing? Or do you do it after?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I did the annotations and things. That was back when I had to do my own copyedits. Copyedits are so boring. You've read the book six times at that point. You give it to a copyeditor. They give it back to you, and you're, like, making notes, telling them, "No, I did want this comma here." It's all of that stuff. Now, my assistant Peter handles that. And I was so bored during those, I needed a break to stop and write something, and I did the annotations. That's where those came from. That's why you don't see as much of them anymore, now that I have Peter to do the really boring stuff. And he loves it. He loves it! It's what he lives for. He's an editor, they're weird.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1187 Copy

    Questioner

    Since you have basically established that spren are at least to some extent alive, how is it possible for a Shardblade to not cut right through a living weapon, like Syl for example.

    Brandon Sanderson

    What you are seeing is: when they are pulling through into the Physical Realm they are creating something that is not 100% physical, not 100% metal, it's like an amalgamation of the two. And that is doing something very special that then prevents other things from cutting through it. It's specifically the way that it's happening. You could make this happen with other things too.

    Another big part of it is the amount of Investiture. If something is highly Invested it's going to stop a Shardblade too, because the Investiture is gonna kinda bounce off of each other. It's theoretical, for instance, you could make a Hemalurgic spike that would stop a Shardblade...

    So, Invest something highly and it will stop a Shardblade almost always. But, you can cut souls; they are highly Invested also. So you need something in the Physical Realm that is pulling power through from the other Realms.

    Bonn Signing ()
    #1188 Copy

    Questioner

    To what extent would you say Oathbringer picks up on political discussions and debates that are leading today.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Excellent question. I would say that it certainly picks up on them. It can't help but do so, right? Now Tolkien and CS Lewis had a big argument about how much stories should teach. And Tolkien abhorred metaphor. He said, "I'm just trying to write the story that I'm writing. You can interpret it how you want, but I'm not trying to put things into it." And I felt more like him. I do't generally look at books as a method of trying to advocate for anything. But what I'm thinking about, what I'm concerned about, will definitely reflect in the novels.

    Berlin signing ()
    #1189 Copy

    Questioner

    I reread Words of Radiance, and I was wondering about the timing of the bond breaking. It started to weaken after he had that incompatible oath. And it really broke after he tried to protect someone, so that made no sense for me, because that's what h's doing, and he would have been able to protect even more people if he could have used his powers. We had some theories about that. If it's just the time, because he didn't find the words, or if the Stormfather took it actively from him. Or if he just tried to use too much power, and that broke the bond.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So it's a little spoilery, so I don't want to dig into it too much, in case people haven't read the book. So... imagine there's a hose with a kink in it. You've caused the kink, and now you're trying to force water through the hose. And then you break something, because you're still holding the kink down. Basically, you want the power, but to not have to go through the proper channels to get it. That's was what was dangerous there.

    The way the Stormlight magic works is, there are certain restrictions placed on you. And you can't access the power without those restrictions. And there is also the will of another individual involved, which is important to it, as well. So imagine the kinked hose, if that helps.

    Berlin signing ()
    #1190 Copy

    Questioner

    When you're writing maps for grand scale things like atlas style maps, they're presumably fairly straightforward because you rarely would say, "This character is moving north." You would say, "This character is moving toward the town." When you're writing (or rather when Isaac is drawing) town maps, you often presumably would say, "This character is going to dart left, down an alley." Do you wind up having to path out where a character would go in order to make the map at least somewhat accurate?

    Isaac Stewart

    I do keep this in mind when I'm reading the books, and I'll write it down. If something doesn't quite work I'll tell Brandon about it. There's a bit of what we call handwavium on that, with the city blocks. I'll put enough city blocks in there that-- Sometimes it doesn't matter because it will work out, if that makes any sense. But we did, on this map right here, the map of Kholinar-- Down at the bottom we have a map of one of the levels of the palace in Kholinar and we did have to do a lot of reading and going back to-- Our continuity editor, Karen, went back and found every instance of where people were at in the palace in the previous two books and then we used that to draw out this map. So we did have to make sure that left was left and right was right on this particular one.

    Berlin signing ()
    #1191 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you already have a design for the Krell? Anything physical about them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, the Krell actually are a species from an earlier story I wrote in the universe, Defending Elysium. Second book, I'll delve into that. You will have met them if you've read that earlier story. But I go into a bunch of different races from where the Krell are from, and we deal with a lot of that. So, you're gonna meet some aliens in the next book. Quite a number of them.

    Berlin signing ()
    #1192 Copy

    Questioner

    I don't know if you knew all the Mistborn metals at the beginning when you designed them or if you really have to think about a new one if Brandon says, "Yeah, well there's going to be another metal."

    Isaac Stewart

    Right now we have twenty-four symbols because we added the symbol for lerasium, which is also the symbol for-- No, that's not the symbol for lerasium, that's the symbol for Scadrial. So we have twenty-four symbols. Twenty-three of them correspond to the Scadrian alphabet--or at least in the Elendel region. Right now we have sixteen metals and then we had two more that got shifted off the chart. So we have four or five symbols that when Brandon comes up with a new metal we'll just assign that. Assign one of those symbols probably. But when we run out of that we'll find other ways to make the symbols look right.

    Berlin signing ()
    #1195 Copy

    Questioner

    Would you ever consider doing another Writing Excuses anthology?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ooh, you're into the obscure stuff. For those who don't know, my friends and I run a podcast called Writing Excuses. We did something weird where we all brainstormed a story and recorded the brainstorming session, and then went and wrote the story. And did workshops of it on the podcast live, also. The collection has the brainstorm session, the workshop session, the first rough draft, and the last draft of the story. It's an interesting thing for writers to pick up.

    Probably not. It was a whole lot of work, and everybody complained about it a ton when I was making them doing it. And they all did it, and they're all wonderful people and excellent writers, but man, it was a big headache. So I don't know if I'll put myself or them through that again.

    Berlin signing ()
    #1196 Copy

    Questioner

    I think [my class] enjoy [Skyward] because you have space fights for boys, and for the girls you have a female protagonist. We wondered if this was your intention for choosing a female protagonist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it really wasn't. My intention for choosing a female protagonist was, she was the character I was most interested about writing in this world. I do try to make sure I have a balance, kind of in vague terms. But mostly I'm like, "Who is the character that this story matches best?" And Spensa, she was raised on Conan books, and she wants to be a warrior like that. And she's very different, she's very weird, in the sort of weird way I like to write people. And she's just somebody that I was kind of bursting at the seams to tell her story and to get her into a book.

    The original idea for Skyward came from my love of stories about boys and dragons. There's this classic story that gets told. Kid finds a dragon egg, and then they hatch the dragon egg in secret and become this dragon rider. It's the story of How to Train Your Dragon. (Not a dragon egg, but he finds a dragon.) It's the story of Eragon. It's the story of one of my favorite books of all time, Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen. There's just a ton of this type of story. And one of the things I like to do is isolate a story's archetype, kind of try to break it down to "Why do I love it? What makes it work?" And then try to build it up in a new and different way.

    Stormlight, the Bridge Four sequence, I built off of an underdog sports story. Like, if you've seen Hoosiers or Miracle or any of these stories about an underdog sports team who takes on the world. That sort of archetype became the Bridge Four sequence. And Skyward came from the kid and his dragon stories. And that was the seed of it. But Spensa was always going to be the protagonist of that. She was just a character I knew I needed to write.

    Berlin signing ()
    #1197 Copy

    Questioner

    Are there plans for some more books for The Rithmatist?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...Rithmatist was the book I was writing when the Wheel of Time call came. And I was required, by my kind of own determination, if I was gonna do this, I had to drop everything and do it. So I finished The Rithmatist, I gave it to my publisher, and I said, "You can't publish this yet. Because I don't know when I'll be able to do sequels." And then I went to work on The Wheel of Time. Eventually the publisher just couldn't hold-- help themselves. They're like, "We have a Brandon Sanderson book. They sell really well. He says we can't publish it." And then they begged and they begged and they begged, and I said, "All right. You can publish it." But I had no idea when I'd be able to do the sequels. And I still don't quite know that. I did sit down a couple years ago and try to write one, and it just didn't work at all. There are just multiple problems with getting that sequel to work right. I still think I will be able to do it. And think I owe it to you, because the ending implies sequels. But I have no idea when.

    I'm kind of trying to clear my plate of all the things I was working on before The Wheel of Time, which is now almost ten years ago that that started. I was working on Legion, I was working on Alcatraz, I was working on The Rithmatist. Legion, I managed to finish up. Alcatraz book six... the rough draft is done. So those two will be done. Then I just have to find a way to fix Rithmatist. But I don't know. Wax and Wayne four has to be written before that. Skyward probably has to be written before that. So then we'll see where I sit. I apologize. That's the one that I have to be really vague on.

    Berlin signing ()
    #1198 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wondering if there will be any follow-up books to Elantris?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Follow-ups to Elantris. Yes, I would like to do some sequels. They are probably the sequels to the world rather than sequels to the characters. One of the reasons I didn't do them, or haven't done them yet, is when I first published, Elantris was my sixth book. It was the first published of those thirteen I wrote. It's the only one of those thirteen that got published. It was the only one that was worth being published. And when I wrote it I was really excited by Mistborn--or when I published it, because it was years later. I thought I could do a really good job with a trilogy. When they said, "Do you want to do a sequel to Elantris?" I thought, "I really like that there are sometimes really great standalone books to try an author out on, and I would rather people be able to have a standalone to try me out." Because back then I remember looking at new authors coming out and saying, "Brand new author. Book one of twenty," and thinking, "I don't know if this author can pull it off," right? I would rather try them out on a single book, or maybe a trilogy, and see if they can really tell a good story before I commit to something huge. So I figured doing a couple of standalones--I did two standalones and one trilogy before I launched into anything big of my own, because I wanted people to be able to try me out. And I really like how Elantris has stood on its own as a single book.

    I do have plans for some follow-ups. Elantris, that world, is pretty important to the cosmere. I need to bring it up to speed with the other things. So there will be sequels, but like I said they're going to be world sequels. Like Sarene and Roaden may get mentioned and you may see them, but they won't be the main characters.

    Questioner

    So if there *inaudible*.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yeah. Maybe a little closer to like-- For years I wanted to do the sequel about Kiin's children (that's Sarene's uncle). Like after they're grown up have them be the main characters, and I was kind of seeding that. We'll see if that's still the way I go, but that's the plan right now.

    Berlin signing ()
    #1199 Copy

    Questioner

    I would like to know the process of working with other artists, like Isaac. And I saw there was a very big list of credits in the start of Oathbringer. Does the artist also affect your writing? Or you write first, and then the artists do their artwork?

    Isaac Stewart

    For each Stormlight book, we have twenty or thirty pieces of art, and I can't do them all myself. We've had a bunch of people waiting in the wings, a bunch of artists that we send the art to. I read the book, I make notes, Brandon gives me notes of what he would like to see in the book. We combine it into a big list. I assign out to different artists. And then we have art reviews, where I get art from the different artists, and Brandon and I go over it and say what they got right, what maybe they could change. And then we go back and forth with the artist until it's just exactly what we want it to be for the book. The same thing happens when Brandon and I are working on maps or symbols. That's basically the process.

    Questioner

    So it never affects your writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does affect my writing. I can give a couple little examples of this. The American cover for Elantris, I love. It's done by Stephan Martinière. It's this gorgeous cover, it’s a very distinctive, different sort of style. But the actual scene he painted wasn't in the book. And I liked it so much... And that doesn't matter that much. The cover of the book, think of it more like a movie poster for the book. The actual scene doesn't have to occur, that doesn't bother me. But I realized I could change one little part, and have Sarene and Hrathen on the wall, looking like they did on the cover. So I rewrote the passage to match the cover. So that has happened before.

    For instance, Isaac has inserted a character named Nazh into the books, who is kind of one of the people in-world-- It's important to me, particularly in Stormlight, that all the art you're seeing is something from in-world. I don't want it to be-- The covers are different. The covers are one thing. But the other stuff that we wanna have in there, we want it to be what we call ephemera. It's a map that actually existed in Roshar. It's sketches done by a character from the books. This is to not break the immersion. You're not going into the book and getting it illustrated for you. You are getting the scraps of drawings and things that were in-world. Because I feel like-- Tolkien started this. The map that you got in The Hobbit was the map they carried. It's not like someone came along and drew a map. And I liked that way better. So Nazh is one of the characters gathering these maps, and bringing them together. So I wrote him into the books.

    Other things that Isaac has done like that, or an artist has sent us something and I'm like, "This is really cool. Let's work this in somehow." It does happen, certainly. And we do get the art early enough, in a lot of the cases, where I'm still doing revisions, and I'll add tweaks and things like that.