Recent entries

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11951 Copy


    Brandon Sanderson's city of Kharbranth from "The Way of Kings" looks jus tlike Positano, Italy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually wrote the book without a specific place in mind--just trying to build off of the setting, and create cities that would work with the highstorms. Once I gave the book to Isaac (my mapmaker) he went and looked for real-world inspirations for drawing out cities. I'm pretty sure this is one of them, though I'd have to grab him and get the photo references to know for certain.

    It was actually one of those gratifying moments, when something I've imagined and described turns out to not only be plausible--it turns out to have been done in our world.

    Standard disclaimer, though: It's totally possible I saw a picture like this at some point in my life, and drew inspiration without remembering.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11952 Copy


    Is all the chickens who are not chickens in Stormlight a big fat joke about [Terry Goodkind]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. Loan words into Alethi (chicken, wine, hound, etc) are a little bit of linguistic worldbuilding I am using for quite a different reason...


    I'm guessing you aren't willing to elaborate on that point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Book three will make it clear, but it is not so hard to guess right now. I will avoid saying more until November.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11954 Copy


    One thing about the sex scenes (or hints of) between Vin and Elend that strikes me, and those I've discussed it with, as odd is that there seem to be no contraceptive in the Final Empire. That'd be the most logical conclusion, seeing as skaa raped by Noblemen needs to be killed, there seem to be no other way to handle it. But that means that, to our understanding of the character, Vin wouldn't have sex unless she actively wanted to get pregnant. She's all too paranoid in general to just leave a thing like that to chance it, even despite loving Elend. How does it work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are indeed contraceptives, but noblemen tend to not trust them. After all, they can be executed for making a mistake.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11955 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've watched this conversation with interest, and wasn't planning to step in, as it's exactly the sort of thread that's generally better without me. Author intervention can derail a good discussion.

    But after considering, I decided I did want to talk about this topic a little. There are two things going on here. One is the mistake I made with Jasnah in Words, which I've mentioned before. One is a larger discussion, relevant to the cosmere.

    Warning, WALL OF TEXT. This is me we're talking about.

    You see, Jasnah wasn't originally meant to be a fake-out. Jasnah originally was going to go with Shallan to the Shattered Plains--but she was really messing up the outline, diverting attention from Shallan's character arc and pointing it toward Shallan/Jasnah conflicts instead.

    My biggest breakthrough when outlining the book in detail was the realization that the book would work so much better if things I'd planned to do with Jasnah in it were diverted to later books. When that came together, WORDS really started working. Hence her jaunt into Shadesmar. I initially wrote the scenes with it being pretty clear to the reader that she was forced to escape--and it was super suspicious that there was no body.

    In drafting, however, early readers didn't like how obvious it was that Jasnah would be coming back. I made a crucial mistake by over-reacting to early feedback. I thought, "Well, I can make that more dramatic!" I employed some tools I've learned quite well, and turned that into a scene where the emotion is higher and the death is more powerful.

    HOWEVER, I did this without realizing how it mixed with other plotlines--specifically Szeth's resurrection.

    We get into sticky RAFO areas here, but one of the biggest themes of the Cosmere is Rebirth. The very first book (Elantris) starts with a character coming back from the dead. (As I've mentioned before, a big part of the inspiration for Elantris was a zombie story, from the viewpoint of the zombie.) Mistborn begins with Kelsier's rebirth following the Pits, and Warbreaker is about people literally called the Returned. (People who die, then come back as gods.) The Stormlight Archive kicks off with Kaladin's rebirth above the Honor Chasm, and Warbreaker is meant as a little foreshadowing toward the greater arc of the cosmere--that of the Shards of Adonalsium, who are held by ordinary people.

    Szeth's rebirth, with his soul incorrectly affixed to his body, is one of the things I've been very excited to explore in The Stormlight Archive--and the mistake with Jasnah was letting her return distract from that.

    That said, you're not wrong for disliking this theme--there's no "wrong" when it comes to artistic tastes. And I certainly wish I'd looked at the larger context of what happened when I shifted Jasnah's plot in book two. (Doubling down on "Jasnah is dead" for short term gain was far worse than realizing I should have gone with "Jasnah was forced to jump into Shadesmar, leaving Shallan alone." I consider not seeing that to be the biggest mistake I've made in The Stormlight Archive so far.)

    However, the story of the cosmere isn't really about who lives or dies. We established early on that there is an afterlife (or, at least, one of the most powerful beings in the cosmere believes there is--and he tends to be a trustworthy sort.) And multiple books are about people being resurrected. What I'm really interested in is what this does to people. Getting given a second try at life, being reborn as something new. (Or, in some cases, as something worse.) The story of the cosmere is about what you do with the time you have, and the implications of the power of deity being in the hands of ordinary people.

    More importantly (at least to me) I've always felt character deaths are actually somewhat narratively limp in stories. Perhaps it's our conditioning from things like Gandalf, Obi-Wan, and even Sherlock Holmes. But readers are always going to keep asking, "are they really dead?" And even if they stay dead, I can always jump back and tell more stories about them. The long cycle of comic books over-using resurrection has, I think, also jaded some of us to the idea of character death--but even without things like that, the reader knows they can always re-read the book. And that fan-fiction of the character living will exist. And that the author could always bring them back at any time. A death should still be a good death, mind you--and an author really shouldn't jerk people around, like I feel I did with Jasnah.

    But early on, I realized I'd either have to go one of two directions with the cosmere. Either I had to go with no resurrections ever, stay hard line, and build up death as something really, really important. Or I had to shift the conversation of the books to greater dangers, greater stakes, and (if possible) focus a little more on the journey, not the sudden stop at the end.

    I went with the latter. This isn't going to work for everyone. I'm fully aware of, and prepared for, the fact that things like Szeth coming back will ruin the stories for some readers. And I do admit, I've screwed it up in places. Hopefully, that will teach me better so that I can handle the theme delicately, and with strong narrative purpose behind the choices I make. But do warn you, there WILL be other resurrections in my books. (Though there are none planned for the near future. I took some extra care with the next few books, after feeling that things happening in Words and the Mistborn series in the last few years have hit the theme too hard.) This is a thing that I do, and a thing that I will continue to do. I consider it integral to the story I'm telling. Hopefully, in the future, I'll be able to achieve these acts with the weight and narrative complexity they deserve.

    If it helps, I have several built-in rules for this. The first is that actual cosmere resurrections (rather than just fake-outs, like I did with Jasnah) can happen only under certain circumstances, and have a pretty big cost to them. Both will become increasingly obvious through the course of the stories. The other rule is more meta. I generally tell myself that I only get one major fake-out, or one actual resurrection, per character. (And I obviously won't use either one for most characters.) This is more to keep myself from leaning on this narrative device too much, which I worry I'll naturally do, considering that I see this as a major theme of the books.


    (Sharders, please don't start asking me at signings who has had their "one death" so far. This is me drawing the curtain back a little on the process, I really don't want it to become an official thing that people focus on. Do feel free to talk about the mechanics of resurrection though--it should be pretty obvious now with Elantris, Warbreaker, Szeth, and a certain someone from Mistborn to use as guides.)

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11956 Copy


    Fishtank beads aren't spheres, they're ovoids. They aren't flat on any sides, they're just oval-based.

    This is a sphere that's flat on one side. Otherwise, the side of the sphere being flattened (since it's specifically only one side) would be pushed out to the sides, and it wouldn't end up being very circular at all.

    /u/mistborn, please lmk if I'm misunderstanding it, because I'm genuinely curious now.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, your image is close to what I imagined.

    Footnote: This discussion is about Rosharan spheres
    Sources: Reddit
    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11957 Copy


    If Wax/Marasi had worked out, he'd probably have been okay with it, for example.

    Was there ever a chance this was going to be the case?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there was a slight chance. It wasn't what I had planned, but even an outline writer like myself must be willing to change plans as a story adapts. So until a book is published, there's a chance things will change.

    However, in this case, the more I wrote, the more confident I was that this path was the right one.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11958 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I don't know how much I've talked about this, but there are two things going on with Wayne in regard to Steris.

    The first is that Wayne is a highly instinctive person. He DOES think, and more than people give him credit for, but he judges a lot of what he does by what his gut says. I've known people like this and they can be extremely charming, but have more trouble articulating why they might make a certain decision--or why they don't like a particular person.

    Wayne doesn't like Steris. She feels off to him, and his instincts say she's hiding something. Trouble is, his gut is misleading him in this case. Steris doesn't think and react like Wayne does, but it's not because she's hiding something--it's because she doesn't pick up on the same social cues that someone highly sociable like Wayne sees.

    There's a second issue here, and that's Wayne's over-protectiveness. Wayne tends to lump people in his head into "my mates" and "those other folks." Once you're "in" with him, he'll do basically anything for you. You'll never find a more loyal friend. At the same time, it's hard to get "in" with him--and if he perceives someone as "stealing" someone from him, he gets very defensive, even mean.

    He doesn't realize it, but his subconscious sees Steris as taking Wax away from him and--even more importantly--away from Lessie. He'd be belligerent toward anyone Wax started dating, but the fact that he gets lots of false positives off of Steris doesn't help one bit. If Wax/Marasi had worked out, he'd probably have been okay with it, for example.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11960 Copy


    Is it too early to ask if you'd continue with the story you made for the game?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have been tempted to do it as a graphic novel, if White Sand continues to be popular.

    For my part, I want to point out that Matt Scott was awesome to work with. He really did try to make this game--but we were trying during a time when original IP in video games was a dodgy thing to start with. Several console changes, the revolution in mobile gaming, and various issues on the business side meant we could never really get this going. But there was a never a problem with their vision, passion, or enthusiasm.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11961 Copy


    I think he is a bit hesitant to incorporate these stuff openly because he thinks that it might be perceived as tokenism. Do I have it right u/mistborn ?

    Edit: If Mr. Sanderson decides to show up; the deleted comment was about you mentioning one of your characters was gay but he didn't get a chance to date anyone yet therefore it is not really out there.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's partially that, certainly. But in the case of Bridge Four, it's more about the fact that the guys just haven't had time to start many relationships. It's only been a few months, in-world time, between thinking they were doomed to having respectable jobs. Give the fellows some time. Most of the guys, gay or straight, are looking. (Excluding the married ones and the asexual one.)


    I hope I didn't offend, it was exaggeration for effect, nor do I think the lack of sexual depiction or even mention is done ham-fistedly, there's always a well formed, even subtle, reason WHY your characters don't tend to be particularly sexual, at least not the major POV characters, be it culture or circumstance, I've just noted that it's something of a theme, which I ascribed, perhaps erroneously, to "delicate mormon sensibilities".

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wasn't offended. I do tend to respond quickly to threads, however, so I know I can come across as terse sometimes. No worries.

    By way of conversation, you might enjoy a story from when I was writing the second Mistborn novel. My editor called me one day, and said, "All right. I can't figure it out. Are Vin and Elend having sex or not?" I said, "Of course they are. They've been together for over a year at this point." His response was, "Well, why not say so?"

    It was the first chance I had to vocalize something that I hadn't even really figured out myself--something that just felt like the right way to tell my stories. I explained that there were many readers, like my sister, who wanted to be able to pretend that the male lead and female lead in the story were going to do things the way she wanted them to, with a level of chastity that made no sense in the culture. There were other readers who would want to imagine wild Allomancer sex happening every night.

    In this case (though it may not be every case in my books) I felt it was best not to intrude as the author, as what was going on in the bedroom wasn't plot relevant. In addition, there was a certain...privacy I wanted to afford them, because of Vin's difficulty with intimacy in the first place. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but while Wayne's sexual exploits can be front-and-center, it felt specifically wrong to go into Vin and Elend.

    That said, I'm totally a prude. The Daenerys chapters from A Game of Thrones, for example, were too much for me, and are a large part of why I didn't continue with the series despite thinking the first book was very well written.

    You should go listen to the Writing Excuses episode we did where we interviewed an erotica writer on how to write sex scenes. Mary spent basically the entire episode poking fun at me. (Though I'd like the record to stand that I was NOT blushing as much as she implies on the recording.)

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11962 Copy


    What is the final page count? The first two books were monsters (in the best way). I think part of what sets you apart from some other authors is that you're very transparent with your writing progress. The progress bars on your site, your updates on twitter, et cetera. Anyway, long story short, I am really freaking excited to read what's in store for everyone, and I may just re-read WoK and WoR to get back in the mood.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, Words of Radiance was spring 2014, incredibly.

    Oathbringer would have been out last year, instead of this year, but the story went long. First draft was 520k words, compared to 300k words for TWoK and 400k words for [WoR]. However, in revisions, I buckled down and did some serious pruning for the good of the book--so Oathbringer is somewhere around 450k words now, going into final proofreads. November 14th drop date in the US.

    More and more, I'm certain I can't do these every two years, as I had originally hoped. They are to intricate, and I need to take a break from the world to let things simmer and brew between books. But we'll see.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #11963 Copy


    What is a lait?

    Used in Stormlight Archive "was in a lait"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not an Earth loan-word. Like crem, it's transliterated, not translated. It roughly means, "A place where the storms are blocked." Generally, it means some kind of depression or location in the shadow of a larger rock formation.

    Stormlight Three Update #8 ()
    #11965 Copy


    Just wondering what color the book is and what are the glyphs on it for the hardcover version? (book one and two are blue and red and have the glyphs for justice and something else IIRC)

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the Bondsmith book, so the color (yellow) and glyph should match that. (Theoretically.)

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11968 Copy


    Did you write Wayne as a sociopath? Or just troubled?

    Brandon Sanderson

    As usual, I prefer not to interfere with theories that people are making, to confirm or deny them. I WILL say this, however.

    The scenes where he interacts with Ranette and Allriandre are supposed to be uncomfortable, though I don't anticipate the average reader being able to pick out why. Anyone with any sort of experience with similar situations, however, will identify that something is deeply wrong with the way Wayne sees the world. His inability to understand boundaries, and his almost pathological need to PROVE that he's not a bad person any more, lead to him far, far overstepping. (His treatment of Steris is another example.)

    Wayne is trying. This is all what makes him work for me as a real character, not as just a goofy sidekick, but you shouldn't just laugh it off and say, "Oh, that Wayne." He is deeply troubled, and isolation in the roughs--with someone who just kind of let him do his thing--did not help.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11969 Copy


    I have a question about the Everstorm.

    It appears the Parshendi kept singing long past the point necessary to summon the storm. It could be they didn't know when to stop, but there are other possibilities. Could the storm have been stopped or weakened if the Alethi armi had hit them earlier? Does the time they were stopped affect the number of Odium-spren in the storm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, I'm afraid.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11970 Copy


    I have to say though, I don't get annoyed by the fact that you want to write the side projects, but I do get perplexed by how big the State of the Sanderson is getting. You keep adding more things that I want to read, and it gets no closer to getting written! I've been waiting for a sequel to Warbreaker for 7 years now, and a sequel for the Rithmatist for over 3 years, and I've been getting excited about Silence Divine and Dark One for years just reading the chapters or descriptions you've read out at signings. Now you're adding a novel set on Threnody, and one on Silverlight?


    Brandon Sanderson

    Original Cosmere sequence (from around 2003 or so.)

    Core books:

    Dragonsteel (7 books)

    Mistborn (9 books)

    Stormlight (10 books)

    Elantris (3 books.)

    Secondary stories

    Unnamed Vasher prequel (1 book)

    White Sand (3 books)

    Unnamed Threnody novel. (1 book.)

    Aether of Night. (1 book.)

    Silence Divine (1 book.)

    This version was after I decided I'd trim back Aether of Night, but felt confident that Dragonsteel would be coming out soon. (I tried a rebuilt version of it in 2007.)

    By 2011, some things had changed. First, I'd rewritten Stormlight, and had sucked Bridge Four off of Yolen, following Dalinar (who had been moved to Roshar for the first draft of TWOK.) Warbreaker had been given a sequel. Dragonsteel, having lost the entire bridge four sequence, refocused to be more about Hoid and shrunk from seven books to between 3 and five, depending on what I decided needed to go there. Silverlight had grown from just a place I referenced to a place I wanted to do a complete story for. And, of course, Mistborn got another era. (Dark One also moved to the cosmere somewhere in here.)

    So, a lot of these have been brewing all along, and I haven't really been adding that many books--I've actually been shrinking the numbers as I feel certain things combine, and work better together than alone.

    I still suspect we'll end up in the 40 book range, but most of the new ideas for the cosmere I have, I try to limit to novellas so that we don't end up with too many promised books.


    Thanks for the answer! I'm going to go ahead and believe there are even more books hidden in your outline you've never talked about because that makes me feel better, especially something like Skyward (since I remember you saying that was YA).

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are, but I'm very aware of how much I've put on that list so far--so I've been trying to combine stories, or make others into novellas.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11971 Copy


    Is Cephandrius the real name of the character who goes by different names on different planets?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, but it's one of his earliest aliases.


    I'm positive this is RAFO bait but would one of Hoid's aliases possibly be Cephandrius?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid is Cephandrius. It's less an alias and more a long term identity. If you read Dragonsteel, it is super obvious.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11973 Copy


    Leras mentioned something like Cephandrius had the choice/chance to take up a Shard but declined. So was the Shattering an event that was predicted to happen so that people like Leras, Ati, Rayse, etc to be present at that time to pick up the Shards after the Shattering.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's more to it than that, but some of what you say is close.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11975 Copy


    Quick question, years ago 2011 or '12 I was in Draper, Utah for training (army). There was a trainer there named skarstead (spelling maybe different ). He said he was in a writing group with you and you named Skar (Stormlight Archive) after him. Is this true?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That would be Ethan. He's still in my writing group, and Skar is indeed based on him. Ethan is one of my best friends, to this day, and a hell of a person.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11976 Copy


    This is just a little thing I thought of that is kinda neat. Symmetry on Roshar is seen as holy, but the letter H can be used in place of another consonant without "spoiling" the symmetry.

    Is this because of the spelling of the name Honor? If the H is a stand-in for the R, it makes the name symmetrical.


    Where is the "h" thing mentioned?


    I am copying this from somewhere else, but apparently WoR chapter 47. (I guess i tagged the post wrong, but it's just barely a spoiler anyway.)

    ""Bajerden? Nohadon? Must people have so many names?" "One is honorific," Shallan said. His original name wasn't considered symmetrical enough. Well, I guess it wasn't really symmetrical at all, so the ardents gave him a new one centuries ago." "But ... the new one isn't symmetrical either." "The 'h' sound can be for any letter," Shallan said absently. "We write it as the symmetrical letter, to make the word balance, but add a diacritical mark to indicate it sounds like an h so the word is easier to say." "That - One can't just pretend that a word is symmetrical when it isn't!" Shallan ignored his sputtering [...]"


    Is this similar to the many interpretations of the spelling and pronunciation of YHWH?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hebrew, among a few other languages, is an inspiration for some languages in the cosmere. (One of them is Alethi.) That said, in this case it's more like how in some Asian countries, they would give honorific names to famous scholars or rulers after they pass away.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11977 Copy


    Hey Brandon, may I ask if the red-haired woman on the Dayside map is a kind of depiction of one of Bavadin's personas?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She is not. Isaac designed that border without any explicit instructions from me, so while he might have an idea of who it is, it isn't someone specifically relevant to large-scale cosmere workings.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11978 Copy

    [joke about Birds=Chickens on Roshar]

    Brandon Sanderson

    See also: Eastern Rosharans using the word "Wine" for a variety of types of alcohol, when only rare imports from Shinovar actually come from a grape, and naming animals things like "hound" when they only vaguely resemble a creature from Shinovar. (Or the term silk, which is harvested from plants that float in the ocean. Or using the word 'cremling' for any kind of small crustacean or insect, which is a linguistic expansion of the word over the centuries, when there used to be two distinct terms for them.)

    Vorin languages, in particular, lend themselves to this kind of simplification of terms.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11979 Copy


    Since you mention languages on Roshar, are there any languages that are completely unrelated to any other on the planet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Our basic language families are:

    Vorin: Alethi, Veden, Herdazian, and more distantly Thaylen. Nathan is close to dead, but shares a root, and Karbranthian is basically a dialect. Other minor languages like Bav are in here.

    Makabaki: Azish is king here, and most the languages around split off this. There are around thirty of these.

    Dawnate: A varied language family with distant roots in the dawnchant. Shin, parshendi, Horneater. They share grammar, but they diverged long enough ago that the vocabulary is very different.

    Iri: Iriali, Reshi, Purelake dialects, Riran, and some surrounding languages.

    Aimian: These two are lumped together, but are very different. Probably what you were looking for.

    That isn't counting spren languages, of course. I might have missed something. Typing on my phone without my wiki handy.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11980 Copy


    "Your" wiki.

    Oh dear, I can only imagine the contents, not to mention the chaos it would inspire over on the 17th Shard if it ever leaked. Once the Cosmere is complete in 30 years or so, do you have any plans for letting the fans peek at it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When the Cosmere is complete, I will share it--or have instructions to share it when, hopefully in many years, I pass away.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11981 Copy


    I know there isn't a short story from Nalthis in the collection, but I still would have liked a Solar Map and Brief overview of the system in the Arcanum Unbounded. Maybe it could have just included the Warbreaker prologue and a link to the free download? The fact that even White Sand (an unpublished book/unfinished graphic novel) had one but Nalthis doesn't is a shame...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Truth is, part of me felt I'd find time for a Nalthis story at some point, but it never worked out. Edgedancer's length and involvement in the main Stormlight story sucked away the time for doing a Nalthis story. Maybe it would have just been better to stick one in, with no story, but it felt weird to me. Hindsight, looking at the book, I probably would do it if I had the chance over again.


    Could the map and Khriss essay for Nalthis perhaps be released on your website/Tor's website sometime after Oathbringer's release or during the revision process for it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was thinking maybe we release it around the time of the paperback of the collection, if I can find time to get it done. But the Oathbringer release would be another good idea--maybe I'll do that instead.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11982 Copy


    [Brandon] must have had enough of chuckles every time someone referred to Bavadin as a "he" over the past few years.....

    Brandon Sanderson

    Bavadin has several male personas, and has often appeared as male for one purpose or another, so it's not that much of an issue. She has more female personas, but some of the male ones are quite popular.

    This won't be relevant for a long while, but as a service to the community, let me say this: try not to get too hung up on gender, race, or even human appearance where Bavadin is concerned. There are some peoples who worship entire pantheons where every member is actually her.


    There are some peoples who worship entire pantheons where every member is actually her.

    I think that's hilarious.

    I've been meaning to ask a similar question for a few days now, I am glad someone else did and you replied. Bavadin is now instantly super interesting to me!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Bavadin is awesome. One regret of finally moving on from White Sand (and doing the graphic novel, instead of doing an entire trilogy myself) is because I won't get to show her off as a character for a while. It should still happen, mind you, but I have enough on my plate right now that I just can't do it all.


    Eh, it's alright. The more we wait to see her, the more practice writing you will have when you do write her, and the more awesome she will be to us :) Are we going to see her in White Sand first though, or elsewhere?

    I've also been talking with a couple of friends about Ambition, who happens to be a Shard I love unconditionally just because of his?her? mandate. So I should ask - how tight-lipped do you intend to be with information about it? Can we prod for a little bit of trivia, or is it too early for that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to be pretty tight-lipped for now. Let's at least let White Sand finish first--you will find her in there, though her touch on the story (directly) is light. She prefers to allow her personas to become the focus of attention.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11983 Copy


    I'd very much like a story, even a short one, from the point of view of a spren.

    Specifically a spren that is bound to a surgebinder. Syl, Glys, Pattern, etc. I'd like to see how they go from Shadesmar to crossing over and losing their thought, to slowly regaining it and forming a bond in more than one way with their surgebinder.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a matter of when, not if--but you might have to wait a few books.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11984 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think /u/Tellingdwar IS Tellingdwar though, which is still pretty cool. (I got the character from him.)


    Wait really? I always thought it was his account that was named after the character.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He wore a terrisman costume to gencon one year, then was my faithful steward during a RPG session for the Mistborn game. After that, he ended up in the books.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11985 Copy


    [WoB compilation about spren]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmm. With a casual glance, I see at least one here that I might have been fixated on a question that wasn't actually being asked. I do this occasionally, particularly at signings, where we're going so fast and I think someone is asking something that they're not.

    In regards to there being spren bonds before the Last Desolation--there obviously were. (We see Knights Radiant in Dalinar flashbacks that are before the Last Desolation.) I think I was trying to talk my way around a different question, without giving RAFO answers, that I'm not going to get into now.

    Another sketchy one on this list is regarding whether the spren call the nightwatcher Mother or if they're calling cultivation Mother. I don't think the text of the books actually implies either way, despite what I said. (Unless I'm forgetting something.) For those in the know, with the Nightwatcher being an analogue of the Stormfather, that implication is there--but I don't want to confirm it either way. You'll get more on the Nightwatcher and Cultivation, and their relationship, in the books.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11986 Copy


    Was anyone else completely surprised in Bands of Mourning when Wax offhandedly mentions that he and Lessie had been married?

    I don't remember any mention of Wax and Lessie being married before that point in the series. Together, yes. But married, not at all.

    Did I just miss it? Or did /u/mistborn forget to mention it in earlier books? (Or did he slip in some hand wavy retconning and hope no one noticed)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is one of those things that editors kept trying to change back, but which I insisted stay as it's not a contradiction to the earlier book. Wax's thinking of her in this way is a kind of unconscious defense against what his mind perceives as an attempt by society to wipe her out of existence and force him to move on.


    I appreciate that the intention here was for Wax's state of mind to feel a little off.

    Still, with the concrete way he thinks of the relationship as a marriage, with how he remembers the specifics of a ceremony, it's hard for me to resolve your statement that "Wax and Lessie never had a real ceremony" with the conflicting statements in the text (emphasis mine)—

    At the very beginning of chapter 1, Wax and Wayne are talking, Wax casually mentions that it's his second marriage and Wayne doesn't bat an eye:

    “You gonna be all right?” Wayne asked.

    “Of course I am,” Wax said. “This is my second marriage. I’m an old hand at the practice by now.”

    Then, after Wax gets to the church and is getting dressed, he muses further on his previous wedding:

    Then, after a moment’s hesitation, he strapped on his gunbelt and slid Vindication into her holster. He’d worn a gun to his last wedding, so why not this one?

    And finally, Wax contemplates the actual ceremony as he and Steris are walking "down the aisle":

    Wax found himself smiling. This was what Lessie had wanted. They’d joked time and time again about their simple Pathian ceremony, finalized on horseback to escape a mob. She said that someday, she’d make him do it proper.

    With all three of these in short succession, Wax clearly establishes that 1. he was married before to Lessie (at least in his head), and 2. there was some kind of wedding ceremony (was this in his head, too?).

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, the following is how I explained it to Peter, I believe, back when he raised these objections during the editing stage. Wax and Lessie had no official marriage, though they did exchange some vows (as Wax notes, on horseback, fleeing a mob.)

    Lessie gave him grief, claiming that it didn't count--that she wanted more. She wanted an actual wedding, and a piece of paper to say they were married. Wax figured this was good enough, and resisted wanting to do something more formal. It was his whole, "I am the law" thing he had out in the Roughs. Focus on what matters, not what paper-pushers might claim he should do.

    Over the years, they talked about getting married for real, and he started to think of the day they would. (Shifting his focus away from thinking of "my wife" but instead of kind of a long-term betrothed/common law wife.) When he lost her, and moved to Elendel, his viewpoint shifted. He wanted more and more to treat what they'd had as a legitimate marriage, for fear that what he and Lessie had would be wiped awaystamped out, by something more grand that society was demanding of him.

    So while the event never changed, his perception of it certainly did. I intended for it to be contradictory, but only subtly so, and this is one of those things that I didn't feel like it was right to do in the text. (Much like Wayne's dislike of Steris for stealing Wax away from him and from the memory of Lessie--but this sentiment slowly shifting into a protectiveness of her as she reached the "inside" circle and gained legitimacy by making Wax happy.)

    These are things that the characters themselves don't realize, and while I'll occasionally hang a lantern on them, sometimes I just leave it unspoken and subject to interpretation. If every little thing gets spelled out in the text, then I am left feeling that we're being too on the nose.

    That said, once in a while, things like this DO annoy Peter. He'd prefer I pin the text down on things that seem to contradict one another.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11987 Copy


    What would happen if a Feruchemist fills, for example, a tin metalmind then mixes it to make a pewter metalmind? Does the stored attribute change? Is the Investiture gone when you melt the metal? What if he just makes it into a tin metalmind again?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you make it impure, you'll keep the investiture, but won't be able to get it out. If you make it back into the same thing, you'll be fine, and can access it normally. If you try to fill it, after changing the composition to make another viable metal, it will act a little like a computer hard drive with corrupted sectors. Some of it will work for the new investiture, but you won't be able to fill it nearly as full. (Depending on how full it was before you melted down.)

    This holds for basic uses of the metallurgic arts. Once you start playing with some of the more advanced parts of the magic, you can achieve different results, which are currently RAFO.


    Similarly, if you were to soulcast a metal would it have similar effects of corrupting the investiture and making it inaccessible? Like if you turned a steel metalmind into pewter.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've stayed away from soulcasting and forging in these types of discussions, as I feel my answers will dig too deeply and prompt more questions that, eventually, will lead to lots of RAFO type questions. I don't really want to go there--but I will say this. Changing invested objects with other magics is hard, and often requires such a force of investiture yourself, that it becomes very power-inefficient. Just like we can technically turn lead into gold right now--by spending way more money than the gold is worth.


    So you could, for example, use electrolysis to dissolve a metalmind in water, then reverse the reaction later to get the investiture?

    OR, better question, if you store investiture in one allotrope of iron, can your retrieve it off you change to a different allotrope?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I see no reason why these wouldn't work.


    So would forging with the blood of a radiant(kaladin, dalinar,etc) work on a shard blade from a fallen radiant to say change who they had bonded, or how the bond was broken (to say death instead of giving up on the oath)?

    Brandon Sanderson


    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11988 Copy


    Kwaan might have understood realmatic theory.

    In the chapter 19 epigraph for the final empire, the author of the journal says "When we first met, he was studying one of his ridiculous interests in the great Khlenni library - I believe he was trying to determine whether or not trees could think."

    I wonder if that means he was looking into trees have a cognitive aspect. It seemed weird to me the first time I read it, but knowing what I know about the Cosmere and Sanderson loving worldbuilding, I feel like that's what this was about.


    Was pre-ascension scadrial cosmere aware?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The OP's theory is correct. The rest is a RAFO.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11989 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ben's interpretation posted in this thread is the canon one. I wish I'd gotten a picture into the books. One of my regrets for Book One is not thinking to put a diagram.

    One thing I worked with when writing the first book were heavy counterweights that you locked into place on one side of the bridge (at the sides) then pulled off and carted across to lock on the other side of the bridge, to change the center of gravity for maneuvering the bridge. They broke the flow too much, so I think I cut all references, but you can head-canon them if you want. I think you'd realistically need something like that to get across some of the wider chasms.

    The math on bridges is a bit tricky, regardless. Even with Roshar's gravity, we had to use a Soulcast wood (one that doesn't exist on earth) for huge sections of the bridges to get a strength/weight ratio that would actually work. (Meaning, it could be carried by the numbers of bridgemen we needed after some were killed, but was still be strong enough to ride across.)

    Footnote: The 'interpretation' in question is from Ben McSweeney and is attached to this entry.
    Sources: Reddit
    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11991 Copy


    How tall would the average chasmfiend be, and how much would they weigh? On a scale from ant to Godzilla.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, they're big. Not godzilla big, but larger than elephant big. On average, they're going to loom over you at about twenty feet high, which is deceptive to their size, as they're longer than tall. And some do get even bigger.

    Weight, though, is a tricky matter with greatshells on Roshar. The symbiosis with spren is how they get around crushing themselves. (Even on a lower gravity planet like Roshar.)


    One last question though, symbiosis is a two way relationship. The chasmfiends get a huge benefit, the ability to not immediately die. So what do the spren get out of it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, the symbiosis is a two-way relationship. You'll find out more in future books, but suffice it to say, the spren DO get something out of the deal. (At least, when it happens naturally.)

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11992 Copy


    Just wondering, I read the old version and it was great, but will I miss out on continuity if I skip the graphic novel release? Also was Hoid in this novel? I dont remember finding him.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid is referenced in the novel, but it's like Emperor's Soul or a few of the others, where he's only mentioned. We beefed up his presence for the graphic novel, though he'll equate to still just a cameo, because of certain cosmere timeline issues.

    I don't plan to change continuity dramatically from the novel to graphic novel--just tell the same story, better. I hope that people will still read and enjoy it, but I also don't want you feeling left out if you don't get around to it.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11993 Copy


    I have a question about White Sand Vol 1, although this comment thread is probably not the best place to ask it.

    Just wondering how you view the final product, in the range of "learning experience, next one will be different" to "amazing book, won't change a thing"? I've never published a graphic novel, and I'd love to know how you feel about it now that you're past the first volume and have the second one upcoming.

    Brandon Sanderson


    I'd say halfway between those two. I am very pleased with a lot of things about it. The thing that I don't think came out right is the worldbuilding, particularly the cultural worldbuilding.


    That is one difference I noticed. When you describe clothing and buildings and whatnot, it sort of brings them into focus in a different way than a graphic novel (or movie) does. With the graphic novel, my brain just went "ah, they're all wearing this kind of clothing, sure. Oh, she has a Victorian style dress, that's neat." and that was kind of the end of it.

    I think it might have something to do with lingering on it? Like spending a lot of time describing something can show how important a thing is to a character (or the plot), but I kind of skipped over the descriptions by glancing at the picture then returning to dialogue.

    On the plus side, it helps me reinforce the fact that I need to spend more time describing things in my book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that's part of it. Though I don't think we got in the graphic novel some of the important worldbuilding elements, such as the armor that melts when sprayed with water, the unique forms of fighting, and the fact that the people you assume are the advanced ones (because they live in buildings instead of tents) are actually far less technologically developed than the ones who live out in the desert. (Because on this planet, that's the "good" land while the low sands are the less fertile parts.)

    That was a dynamic that was very hard to get across in the book, though, and I don't know that my skill at the time was up to it. I was disappointed in the graphic novel once the colors and final art came back to discover a number of pages that looked like brave Europeans fighting savage desert people--which was the reverse of what I'd been trying to accomplish. (But is part of our cultural biases, so I'm not surprised it was how the artists ended up interpreting it. And I'm to blame for not reinforcing the idea stronger back when it could have been changed.)

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11995 Copy


    Mr Sanderson, I'm really interested in the languages of SA, especially Unkalaki (Polysynthetic?). Have you actually created full conlangs for these or are they just for naming. You obviously know what you're doing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not done yet, but for a few of them, I'm fairly far along. Yes, Unkalaki is polysynthetic, and is the same language family as Parshendi.


    how do you create your languages, do you find a language from the real world and base the structure off of that? or do you create it from scratch?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A little of both. It's hard to create something that doesn't have some roots in something you've seen before, however. (Even if you think that you are.)

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11996 Copy


    Scadrial question: When coming up with twinborns, do you actively avoid the incredibly overpowered combinations? Something like pure steel twinborns seem extremely overpowered.

    Also, can we get an idea for how many twinborns exist? Is it dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to have to talk about them eventually, but yes, I made some deliberate choices for the Alloy era heroes.

    My intent is that they're very rare, but there's this problem in fiction. You can say something is very rare, but if your two main characters are that thing, readers won't FEEL it. So I avoid making too big a deal out of it either way. Either way, I don't have the numbers handy right now.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11997 Copy


    There is something that recently was debated by some fans and I hope you may give some clue about the "side effect of interaction between magic" as was pointed in the Twinborn and Surgebinder cases: Are those "perks" stackable? To say if I am a Fullborn like Rashek, wil I have all the possible Twinborn's perks or a specific "Fullborn's perk"? And about the same topic, a Mistborn or Full Feruchemist has his own perk/perks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've worked under the premise that if you hold too many of the powers, like a Mistborn, the result is a loss of these little quirks. The mechanics of it are interesting, but I'll leave you to theorize on that sort of thing.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #11998 Copy


    You have stated that each Knights Radiant Order gets their own unique ability, for lack of a better word, due to the combination of their Surges. For instance, you have stated this ability for the Windrunners is strength of squires. My question - is this due to the Nahel bond, or just inherent in the Surges combining. Would a non-Radiant get these abilities from the Honorblades, or would they be out of luck due to no Nahel bond?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question! The unique abilities have more to do with the powers interacting, same as how Twinborn will often manifest some odd side effects of the powers interacting. But there are limitations. For example, Jezrien didn't actually have any squires, as none of the Heralds did.

    General Reddit 2016 ()
    #12000 Copy


    Mare is actually no-ghost fully dead, right?

    Just wondering, since she's the only allomancer to ever be sentenced to the pits, so she's presumably the only person with a powerful soul to die right next to Ruin's Well.

    Or is Ruin Energy inherently the type of thing that won't (can't) extend the life of a ghost?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is no cognitive shadow of Mare hanging around.