Recent entries

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12251 Copy

    Kurkistan

    So is that the same thing with Commands, are there like ideals that are Commands?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is more of a-- For you to interface with the magic, you need to be able to comprehend it. And so forming a Command-- The same thing happens in Elantris, you know they don't accidentally draw runes, right? The intention is part of interfacing with the magic. So it's like your mind reaching into the Spiritual Realm and you have to like conceive something.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12252 Copy

    Kurkistan

    So, could you give us some examples of how the ideals that spren represent work in other magic systems, like we have Forging where you get plausibility, or Returned how they're beautiful or any other systems?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, one more time on that.

    Kurkistan

    Okay, so you know the ideals the spren are manifestations--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Kurkistan

    How-- Do those have impacts on other magic systems?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, yes, in the same way the Returned- that's the exact same system at work there.

    Kurkistan

    Is it the same reason why the Lord Ruler has to die of old age, and why you can't heal yourself into being an octopus or something?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um... Yes, that is all connected in the exact same way.

    Kurkistan

    Okay, so it's all like these highfalutin Spiritual ideals?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Kurkistan

    And are there like, median Cognitive ideals that gradually kind of influence these, or--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, they transcend between the three. I mean the original concept for the Three Realms is Platonic philosophy.

    Kurkistan

    So it goes up *makes absurd reverse-waterfall hand gesture*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it goes up and it comes back down. A lot of the Cognitive is-- So like, the Cognitive has a bigger effect on how you can heal and things like that. Does that make sense?

    Kurkistan

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But the power to heal is a actually a Spiritual thing.

    Kurkistan

    So it's like the Spiritual says "I want to be like this" and the Cognitive is like "Okay I'll try really hard to be like that, but I have a limit."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. Right. Filtered through how you see yourself, yeah.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12253 Copy

    Questioner

    When you finish a book how do you celebrate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I usually, unless I have a really tight deadline, I pick a video game and I play the video game. Usually once a year I'll do that and I'll take like two weeks off and just play through a game.

    Questioner

    I like that idea. I'm trying to finish up my master's thesis and deciding what I can do when I've finished it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh okay, I don't know if you can take two weeks off. I can.

    Questioner

    Well I've already told my boss I'm going to take three weeks off. But I'll probably go somewhere.

    Brandon Sanderson

    See traveling, I travel so much for work that I don't really want to go anywhere. I just want to stay home where I don't have to do anything. I played Skyrim, I broke it out over the holidays. I hadn't ever played that one. That's my latest.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12254 Copy

    Questioner

    So are the rumors true are you [and Pat Rothfuss] going to write a book together?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, but every time we are on a panel we are like "AH we should write a book together." It's highly unlikely, that we would ever do anything together. Just because our writing styles are so different. Pat's writing process-- It's not so much style it's the writing process-- is so different. But you can hold out hope. Perhaps some day I will have a pitch for Pat or something like that. But I would hate to inconvenience his fans by distracting him with something else.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12256 Copy

    Questioner

    So I'm in the middle of Hero of Ages, and I'm noticing there are constant parallels between Vin and the Hero of Ages and Elend and the Lord Ruler?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's done intentionally.

    Questioner

    Is it going to hurt?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is the ending going to hurt? The ending is the right ending. It's going to be satisfying, but it also might hurt.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12257 Copy

    Questioner

    Did I read that they were going to make a movie out of Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The question is-- Somebody bought the rights. The question is whether they are actually going to use them for anything, and that I can't say. I really like the people who have them.

    Questioner

    Would you be involved in it if--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I would be involved.

    Questioner

    How much?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The contracts say I have to be able to go to the set at any time.

    Questioner

    You wouldn't be helping writing the screenplay?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh I don't write screenplays, it's a different skill. I think you do an expert do what an expert does. But so far they have sent me all of the stuff they've done and I've given feedback and they've taken it. It's a good sign.

    Questioner

    In your opinion what percent--

    Brandon Sanderson

    How close?

    Questioner

    --that they are going to start it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    15?

    Questioner

    That small?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's high. I think that's very high for this business. My agent says one out of 30 gets made.

    Questioner

    So what's the criteria they would--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Investors, if there are people who are willing to give us a 100 million dollars... So if you happen to know anyone willing to sink a 100 million dollars into a film we could do it tomorrow.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12258 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm 66 in a couple months and I want to make sure I live long enough to read the whole Stormlight--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Alright.

    Questioner

    Am I going to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll definitely make it through the first five. The thing about it is I'll break in the middle, but the first five come to a natural climax, and then there's an in-world break of 15 years. Not 15 years away for us but an in-world break. And then I'll do another trilogy. I think you'll make it through them all. I think you'll easily make it, you look very hale and healthy.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12259 Copy

    Argent

    Can a Returned like Lightsong go to Roshar and form a bond with a spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Investiture interferes with other Investiture.

    Argent

    And they have a lot of it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And they have a lot of it. That is not-- It's not completely-- For instance you can Push on Invested metal, but it's hard. There's a resistance, the more Invested the harder-- So a bond for instance-- forming a bond-- It's, yeah-- It can be done--

    I mean Sazed took two of the powers up, right? But I kind of imagine what he did as a nuclear reaction. Where breaking an atom is hard, unless you are in the middle of a sun. And he was in the middle of the sun. At that point--

    Argent

    There was a lot of stuff going on around him that facilitated.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, definitely. But when you've got that much power you'll-- In other words if there is a lot of power going around, these things become easier.

    Argent

    So, possible but difficult is--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12261 Copy

    Argent

    Does Lift turn food into Investiture directly or is it similar to the metals on--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Similar to the metals.

    Argent

    So like a gate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Argent

    Okay, that's good to know.

    Brandon Sanderson

    She can metabolize-- She can draw-- It's not actually the food, it's-- It's not like the metals, not exactly. It's not-- What she can do is she can metabolize into Investiture instead of sugar. Does that make sense?

    Argent

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    We metabolize food into sugar. She can metabolize it into Investiture. Does that make sense?

    Argent

    That makes a lot of sense. So if she eats--

    Brandon Sanderson

    She's got to have a blood sugar spike.

    Argent

    So if she eats like a cake it will give her more Investiture--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Faster. It will give her faster.

    Argent

    Whereas if she eats a vegetable...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vegetable... More calories is going to equal more. But the better comparison would be a sausage and bread. Because bread is a fast blood sugar spike and the sausage is not. And that's how I'm working in my head. It's kind of a magical version of a blood sugar spike and I have it happen to her faster than it could happen. Like normally you eat a piece of bread and your blood sugar spikes in a half hour, it's going to go faster for Lift.

    Argent

    Hers is like five minutes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hers is like five minutes, but a sausage would be slower.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12263 Copy

    Argent

    Can Nightblood damage or kill a Shard? Is he that powerful?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nightblood is not powerful enough for-- *makes weird/hesitant ehhh sound*

    Argent

    Can it damage?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Damage? Yes. How damaging? Is a subject to discussion. Nightblood contains a lot of Investiture.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12264 Copy

    Argent

    Renarin, his visions of the future are they connected to one of his Surges? Both of them? Are they a side-effect of his order?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Umm...

    Argent

    Like I can kind of fit in the two of them...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Alright, how much of a spoiler do you want on this?

    Argent

    All of it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    *Incredulously* Really?

    Argent

    Is that even a question for me?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Do you want to know something secret that you then can't post?

    Argent

    *sighs* How-- Is it something that is going to come up in Book 3--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Argent

    --or later.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It comes up in Book 3.

    Argent

    I'll bear the burden.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll bear the burden meaning I can tell you?

    Argent

    I'm going to pause this actually... *Audio paused*

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12265 Copy

    Argent

    Awakening and Surgebinding, Stormlight and Breath seem really similar in some aspects--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Argent

    --except Breaths seem to stick to things better--

    Brandon Sanderson

    They do.

    Argent

    --than Stormlight. So when you are holding the Breath it doesn't expire when you put it in something it doesn't go away. Can you tell me something about why that's happening?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Part of this is kind of inherent to the Shard and the power it's coming from. I mean the power of Endowment is just going to stick, that's part of the nature of its magic. Does that make sense? But it also kind of has to do with how the ecosystems are working. For instance the Stormlight is essential to the ecosystem of Roshar, it needs to be expended, it needs to get out and-- It's like evaporation, does that make sense?

    Argent

    Recycling? Not the recycling but the cycle of--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yeah like the cycle of water. And so just part of the way the nature of it works, it has to get out, it has to leak out, it has to run out. I mean it leaks even from spheres, right?

    Argent

    And when you lash things it's temporary--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. And even though Szeth says that he thought Voidbringers could hold it they can't. Like it is just not the way that it works.

    Argent

    Can they just hold it better?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They can hold it better. It's not permanent. Now there are things that can do it permanently but--

    Argent

    Like the black sphere for example?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well we are not going to... The black sphere is something different. You guys have guessed what the black sphere is, right?

    Argent

    Well we have some ideas. I support that it holds an Unmade. Am I wrong?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not going to answer that.

    Argent

    But you said--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm just curious what the theories are. Book 3 the black sphere is-- Everyone who reads the books will know what the black sphere is by the end of Book 3.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12266 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you set out to write a specific-- like a teen book or an adult book? Or are they just--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I usually do set out these days. Originally I was not as cognizant of it, but I do think keeping audience in mind is an important attribute of writing. The thing is when you are doing a teen book it's not about writing down it's about dealing with issues, like it's the type of conflicts that really make something a teen book in my opinion. And those conflicts can transcend into adult books but-- I don't know it's just there's a feel for it.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12267 Copy

    Questioner

    I really like your idea with the whole Mistborn series, taking it further in history and we are both PhD physicists.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh sweet.

    Questioner

    I always think about that and I was wondering if you were worried about going that sci-fi fantasy route? Like for instance--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not worried about it, I'm just excited... In my mind all of my books are sci-fi as well as fantasy because I'm making weird new branches of physics and trying to adhere to as many of the laws as I can.

    Questioner

    Yeah that's one of things I love about how well thought out the magic systems are.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Like I-- You are actually not the first physicists to come through another one came through earlier tonight and talking about the quantum mechanics that are in The Way of King.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12268 Copy

    Questioner

    At the end of Firefight when it says that if you overcome your fears that the corruption kind of ceases to exist. Does that mean an Epic's weakness is resolved also?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a question for the sequel.

    Questioner

    So would that imply that maybe David has a power but he doesn't know it because he overcame the water fear?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's entirely possible... You're asking good questions.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12269 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there any possibility of the novellas being released in like a bound--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, we will eventually do-- Tor really wants to do a collection of all the cosmere novellas. So like... *Brandon stumbles over the words* Shadows for Silence, The Emperor's Soul, Sixth of the Dusk. But I was trying to say Shadows for Silence but I almost said Shadows of Self, that's going to be a problem for me going forward, using "shadows" in two. But all of those in one collection is what we're probably going to see.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12270 Copy

    Questioner

    You are releasing a graphic novel version of White Sand, which one is going to be canon to the Cosmere, the graphic novel or the novel you originally wrote?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh definitely the graphic novel. The book I originally wrote has its problems, and I never released it. The books don't become canon until I release them. This will be the canon release of White Sand. I don't think-- If the graphic novel does well we are not going to write novels, I'm going to do the second one as a graphic novel original. That's just how we are going to do it-- is my plan right now. There are things when we went back to it that we tweaked, for instance Hoid's appearance in the original novel was only a reference. He was mentioned by, what did I end up calling him, Eis? Ais, I had both names for a while, it was only a reference to one of his old cases, that's his only appearance. And we're like "Ehh people are going to expect more now". So we are writing in a better appearance for him. Stuff like that, I feel Khriss' character needs better development than the novel had, so we are working on that. Stuff, you know. Things you would do in a major revision.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12271 Copy

    Questioner

    So a lot of your books are very cinematic in nature and lend themselves very well to other forms of media and I was wondering if you had to choose what would you do-- video games...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would want to do all of those.

    Questioner

    All of the things?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I would love to do a big cross-media sort of deal. Whatever I can get away with, right? So we're doing a White Sand comic book right now, you probably know about that. White Sand, my unpublished novel, we're doing a graphic novel of that. I'm working hard to get the movies made, I will do anything I can get made. Just because I love storytelling in all its different weird varieties.

    Questioner

    There's the Mistborn dice game, do you know of anything for The Stormlight Archive? If they're ever going to do something with that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think the thing we are going to do with Stormlight Archive-- We're going to try a chasm assault board game. Where you put together chasms and bridges and things like that. That's what we think would work really well. We have a developer-- well game designer who wants to do one of those so we're going to work with them and try to get it made.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12272 Copy

    Questioner

    How did you sort of develop and write the character of Vin? 'Cause her upbringing is so different from anything we-- that I have experienced and I'm guessing you had a similar experience. So did you have a model or somebody you could talk to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I-- Not really. Now I did have two sisters, which helped, but my sisters were not raised in such a manner. It is more just trying out personalities, like I talked about in my speech until I got one that worked. Lots of practice if you want to be a good writer, lots and lots of practice. Try writing people very different from yourself and try to get them right. Give it to people and have them see if anything "Yes this feels right" and things like that. Just do lots of practice.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12274 Copy

    Questioner

    Where did you come up with the idea for Allomancy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a combination of several things. One is I started with wanting a group of powers that would complement a gang of thieves. So I designed the powers to work within the roles of a thieving crew. The burning metals came from reading about biology and metabolism and it felt very natural to me because that's how we get our energy as human beings. The whole connection of the metals and the visualization stuff came from mixing the periodic table of the elements with alchemy. All of those things kind of spun together to make it.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12275 Copy

    Questioner

    Assuming that it's possible-- There are alternate Physical Realms, is Shadesmar common between them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes... They don't always call it Shadesmar.

    Questioner

    Sure, but there is one Cognitive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. There's one Physical too if you think about it.

    Questioner

    Well... Between the books...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah but there's one Physical-- There's one universe, it's all the Physical Realm, just like there is one Cognitive Realm.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12276 Copy

    Questioner

    The symbols before the chapters [in The Well of Ascension], are those alloys for the god metals?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, the symbols before the chapters are the same symbols as in the first book from a different era. Same thing for the third book, they are the exact same symbols from a different era.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12278 Copy

    Questioner

    Was Vin's mother under Hemalurgic influence?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin's mother was under influence of Ruin.

    Footnoe

    The epigraphs from The Hero of Ages say this: "The point, however, is that people with unstable personalities were more susceptible to Ruin's influence, even if they didn't have a spike in them. That, indeed, is likely how Zane got his spike." In the annotations Brandon confirms that the same applies to Vin's mother.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12279 Copy

    Questioner

    In, I believe it was, Well of Ascension, when Hoid-- Vin was going to talk to Hoid and get information but she sensed something.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, she did.

    Questioner

    Can you reveal anything about that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope!

    Questioner

    Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But you can have a RAFO card... Do you have a theory?

    Questioner

    No, I don't.

    Kurkistan

    Spidey-sense.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The clues are all there. They're very obscure.

    Argent/Kurkistan

    *theorize*

    Brandon Sanderson

    *mock-annoyed* Stop theorizing! I shouldn't have said anything.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12280 Copy

    Questioner

    Can someone be sacrificed for both Hemalurgy and the magics of Dakhor simultaneously?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So this is going to require the soul being ripped apart, so it depends on what pieces of the soul are left and how easily you can capture them. That's a theoretical possible-- possibility... Know that most of the horrors of Dakhor are twisting a soul not stealing a soul.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12282 Copy

    Questioner

    How did Kaladin heal his Shardblade wound without the power of Regrowth?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's partially a RAFO. Remember that healing in the cosmere usually has to do with how you view yourself. And as long as there is some outpouring of Investiture you are usually capable of healing. More the weird thing is not that Kaladin healed it's that Szeth couldn't.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12283 Copy

    writing

    I was wondering about , how much of your day do you spend writing? Because you have five(?) books coming out, I didn't count them all.

    No, I've only got two books this year. I do two books a year, with a third book occasionally. It just depends on how long the books are. For instance a Way of Kings book is four of these [Firefight?] in length, so when I do a Stormlight book you get less, fewer other books. When I do-- For instance I can do two of these [Reckoners?] and two Mistborn books in the same length of time. I work a normal workday usually, plus a little bit... I don't write particularly fast. I do write a large amount but mostly I'm very consistent. I just write a little bit each day and then it happens.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12285 Copy

    Questioner

    If you could live on any one of the worlds, which one would it be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If forced to, because I would stay here if I could 'cause internet, internet's really cool, mac & cheese, I like mac & cheese, I like instant ramen. But if I were forced I would pick Scadrial, the Mistborn world, because it's the closest to all of those things, but beyond that it would, post-Catacendre, a very good place to live...

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12286 Copy

    Questioner

    My question was, have you ever written a scene and had it published and then wanted to change one of your scenes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I have. There have been a couple of them. There's one at the end of Words of Radiance, when it came time for the paperback I reverted to a previous version of the scene. So yeah you guys will see that when the paperback comes out. One of the ending scenes-- It's a very minor tweak but I had done like four different drafts of this scene and I didn't like the one we ended up with. Even immediately after we sent it in I was like "No that's the wrong one". So we reverted.

    Questioner

    Will you post that online?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I'll post that online when the book comes out. I'll be like "By the way guys, Warning. There's a change here."

    Bystander

    The internet will freak out.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. The other thing is the ending of Elantris, the spatial-ness of it, and things, I got some of the math wrong. I didn't have Peter back then. And so now that we are doing a 10th anniversary edition I actually had Peter and Isaac, who does all the maps, get together, work out the actual math. The size of the city, the size of the continent, and all this stuff and Isaac's doing a new map and we are changing the text to now match that map. So for instance where it says something is in the original text it will actually move now that we have an actual real map, rather than my MS Paint thing that I was using 'cause you know me and maps. So yeah you nodded, there are a lot of mathematical-- just problems. We've got the new map now and it all works. So I'm glad that it all actually works, once you get the math right. But like the number of steps is way off at the end of that one for instance.

    *To Argent/Kurkistan* Have you guys figured that out? Like it makes the size of the planet stupidly big.

    Argent

    When is that coming out by the way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not sure, we just have to see when we turn it in. I think maybe later this year. Maybe early next year. I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to get it out with one of the Mistborn books, at around the same time.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12287 Copy

    Questioner

    When it comes to major, pivotal plot twists. Moments where the reader goes "WOAH" or "Oh my god". Are those something you write as starting point or ending point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What I do is I plot my outline backward, starting with those scenes. And then I write the book forward to those scenes. The reason I can do it that way is because in the plot I don't need to know the characters' emotional state, I can just come up with "This is going to be a great scene". But I have to have been with the characters through the journey to write their reaction to the scene. So I can't actually write it early.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12288 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you ever listen to your own audiobooks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do on occasion. I don't listen to them for long because I will find myself wanting to change things. And that's dangerous...

    Questioner

    Do you have a favorite narrator that you--

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do--

    Questioner

    Of your books and of other books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is Michael Kramer, who did the Wheel of Time books. Which is why I asked for him on my books.

    Argent

    If I may, how do you feel about Graphic Audio?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I, personally, love that they are available but I find them kind of distracting when I'm listening to them.

    Argent

    Too much--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I'm glad-- I mean I want to sell as many of them as we can because there are some people who just love them. But I actually love straight reads, like I like Wil Wheaton's reading, where there's very minimal voices.

    Argent

    Well that's because it's Wil Wheaton.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is Wil Wheaton but I-- I do like Graphic Audio because they use women for women's parts, men for men's parts, which is really helpful. Men doing women's voices in books, and women doing men's voices as readers, a lot of them are like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12289 Copy

    Questioner

    I was curious Mat and then the second-hand man Talmanes... Did you have inspiration for those-- Because I absolutely enjoyed, I laughed out loud multiple times reading those characters. And I wondered--

    Brandon Sanderson

    With Mat it was always just me trying to match Robert Jordan's style, sometimes awkwardly at first but I think I got it down. With Talmanes there was more room for interpretation because I had always-- In fandom people interpret his personality in a lot of different ways, and I was a certain theory because we'd never seen through his eyes. When I did write scenes through his eyes I used my interpretation. There are some people "No that's not how he is". There are some people "Yes I always knew he was like that". But that's how I've always viewed him, with kind of the tongue in his cheek as he's talking to Mat. And I've always loved him as a character because of that. Which is why I wanted to write him and include him. There weren't any notes to use him.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12290 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you think about reddit or the 17th shard and the Coppermind-- All the different theories going around? Do you ever find one that hits your plot line or something?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yes. I don't change it. I'm just like "There's a smart person.' But what I learned in Wheel of Time fandom was that you can't-- There is madness that lies in trying to change things once someone figures it out. Like particularly with the way that I do my plots, there's foreshadowing so there's someone who's going to be able to figure it out. If they can't figure it out I haven't put in the foreshadowing properly. So almost everything that I've put into the books, somebody knows. Some of them are really obvious and everybody's got it, and I'm okay with that because the people who don't read the forums, a few of them will be surprised, but mostly it will be like "Yeah of course we know this Brandon. Of course we know yada yada yada" I don't--

    Argent

    Go on, go on.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't... *mutters* I think you've figured it out-- But there are things like that. But there are other little things that there are a dozen theories on, and one of them's right.

    Questioner

    You are probably going to get that when there's large populations...

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's large populations and there's proper foreshadowing, somebody is going to get it, and I think that's appropriate.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
    #12291 Copy

    Questioner

    Can worldhoppers travel forwards and backwards in time or are they stuck going forward?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They are stuck going forward. Good question.

    Questioner

    So Hoid has to move in a straight line?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He has to move in a straight line. It can squish-- stretch or squish that line but he can't go back along the line.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
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    Questioner

    How much research do you have to do in sciences and technology and history to create a world that is more relate-able if not as believable as they are?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What it takes is a lot of general knowledge, meaning you read a lot of history books, a lot of science books, and this general knowledge that you then incorporate. It's not like I go and say "I need to know more about this thing". I'll do that for characters and some aspects of the worlds sometimes but mostly this is coming from spending 10 years learning all this stuff. Does that make sense?

    Questioner

    It makes total sense, and my 10 years of community college will help me write.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes it will.

    Questioner

    My 120 credit-hours.

    Brandon Sanderson

    120 credit-hours, that's what makes a good writer... That really turns-- You can pick out "Oh that's my linguistics class" and I'd be like "Oh that's my chemistry class. Oh that's the class I snuck into, the psychology class".

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    Questioner

    How do you come up with the ideas for the powers and the names of the Epics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The names are actually really hard because comic book heroes, there are so many names they've already used. And so I have to a lot of searching and thinking and it's usually my fifth choice. Lots of looking in the thesaurus for "Alright was a word that is like this one that has been used way too often". The powers I'm look for usually something cool that somebody has done in a movie or a book or a comic book that I don't think they extrapolated far enough. I'm like "No that's not how it would really work. This is how I think it would really work." and kind of taking my own spin on it.

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    Questioner

    Also what is it about about the Fantasy genre in particular that lends itself to these sorts of questions about the nature of religion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well I think that there are a lot of things. One of them is that fantasy is one of these genres where we can take away a lot of the contemporary baggage. For instance, since it is hard to talk about things like the Catholic Church and the religion without getting into the social issues in our world right now, but if you create a fake religion that you can narrow down and focus on one aspect of it-- Fantasy is really good at that. Tolkien did it with racism, let's have an elf and a dwarf and have them interact, and take away all the baggage of civil rights era America or England and instead said "Let's see if these two races can get along".

    Bystander

    It's the same reason why I like Star Trek, you can kind of create a scenario and--

    Brandon Sanderson

    But I also think that because of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis having such an influence on the genre you can do Good vs Evil, which lends itself. Like Robert Jordan's works there's no religion there's just a lot of spirituality. So there is no religion because people can actively check and see if God is real, the Creator. The magic is there, it's the proof, they don't need a religion. Which is a really interesting way to approach it.

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    Questioner

    I really enjoy the systems of religion and the religious questions that you bring up and so I was wondering-- Well first whether in your worlds there is a relationship between the efficacy of religion and the efficacy of magic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is but the relationship is not a direct one-to-one parallel. In other words the beings that are worshiped have an influence over the magic. Whether they are actually God is disputed by various people. And there are people who worship things that are not the various beings the magic is-- Does that make sense?

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    Questioner

    Why would you choose Chicago as a setting?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I grew up in Nebraska, Lincoln, and Chicago was the big city we would travel to. I liked that it was-- This is kind of going to sound weird but it was a big city full of mid-westerners. Like when I went to LA everyone talked and acted different, when I went to New York everyone talked and acted different, but in Chicago it-- they were kind of like a bunch of hokey mid-westerners had somehow built a big city? *laughter* If that makes any sense. So I have always had a fondness for Chicago. It's like the big city of farmers or whatnot. I don't know there's just something about it, the being on the lake and the profile of it and things like that. And I'm a Batman fan and Gotham is Chicago. Chicago was my go-to when I was going to destroy a city in our world; I picked Chicago.

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    Questioner

    When do you know a book is finished and send it to an editor/agent/whatever, wherever it gets sent?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say... that my process is I write the first draft and I do a second draft where I am fixing the problems that I recognized on my first draft. Then I do a third draft where I try to clean up the prose, that's just making the writing line by line better. I try to cut 10% and I just try to take each line and make it tighter. At that point I send it off. But I generally send it-- At that point I send it to my alpha readers, which are my agent and editor for me. If you are doing it I would suggest giving it to a round of readers from friends first. Get feedback from them, then do one more draft and then send it off.

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    Questioner

    You have said you are an architect, so I was wondering if the plot twists at the end of the book, did you have those at the beginning?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say most of the time I have them at the beginning but sometimes during the writing I rebuild my outline to do something different. You always have to be open to that I feel as an architect, to rebuilding your plot for when the creative process takes you in a different direction.

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    Questioner

    I'm a physical chemist and I'm reading your book [The Way of Kings] right now and at some point you have someone studying flamespren and what they saw, that's one of the fundamental tenets of quantum mechanics--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    So you got that from quantum mechanics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did get that from quantum mechanics.

    Questioner

    How did you come across that and decide to incorporate that into your epic fantasy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well The Way of Kings' magic systems are based on the fundamental forces. That was the original idea and the extrapolation from them. I'm fascinated by quantum mechanics and I have worked them into the way that-- Remember in my worlds, my books, the magics are a new branch of physics, in these worlds. And so they interact with our normal physics, it's not like they are ignoring them, so they obey the laws of thermodynamics, even when they appear to be breaking them, and they interact with quantum and all the stuff. It's just very natural that they are going to, to me if that makes sense? It would be weird if they didn't interact with them.

    Firefight Chicago signing ()
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    Questioner

    You know how usually you read a good book and it will change your perspective on some aspect of life, do you ever finish writing a book yourself and-- From your own writings do you ever "Ah I've never..."

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's usually the research I do. Like when I'm like "I need to get in the mindset of this type of person" and I go read about it. I see the world in a different way after I become immersed in that.

    Questioner

    So what character have you written that was the hardest to imagine or get into?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Jasnah was very hard originally, and that took a lot of research into the mindset of people who think differently from myself. In The Wheel of Time books Aviendha and Tuon are both very different cultures so getting into those.

    Questioner

    How was it writing Mat? Was it pretty easy or--

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, Mat blindsided me. Mat I thought would be easy because Perrin and Rand were and I grew up with Mat, Perrin, and Rand, right? But the thing is Mat is a really hard character to write, meaning actual-- you look at him, he says one thing, he does a second thing, but he thinks a third thing. And so there is a lot of contrast to him and I just started writing him naturally and I wasn't getting all of that contrast because I was like "Oh I know who Mat is. Mat's my--" But he was saying the things that he never said, if that makes sense? I got his actions right but I flipped what he said and what he thought. It was actually really hard to get him down.

    Questioner

    You mean how he would say that he was going to avoid trouble and then run straight into it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it's like "I'm going to avoid trouble", he runs into trouble, and he's thinking all the way about something completely separate, and then something else leaves his mouth.