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    Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
    #12301 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have any advice for a married couple who both hope to be professional novelists?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you hope to be professional wri-- novelists and married couple, you're very lucky because you'll be able to understand each other. You are also "you poor souls" because you're going to ignore each other a lot. *laughter* I would say, the number one piece of advice I give to writers is this: Treat becoming a writer, doing your writing, like someone would treat being a pianist. Meaning your job is not to write a great book, your job is to train yourself to be a person who can write great books. And that is a very big distinction. You don't find pianists who only play one song. Maybe you do, they're at parties and they're trying to pick up girls. But otherwise a pianist is someone who enjoys the process of playing these different songs and learning this music. Same with writing. The job is you are the end result, not the book. A person who can write great books. And you do that by practicing a lot. At your own scale, whatever you can manage, but you do it by practicing. And you do it by thinking in your head "This is all practice" even the books that might get published is practice. It's about the process of creating something.

    Otherwise I would say listen to my podcast Writing Excuses we started a brand new thing on Writing Excuses, if you've never listened before, this year we're doing a master's class, is how we call it, where every month we are going to drill down into a topic and guide you through writing a story. Pre-writing the first month, and then plotting the second month and things like this. So writingexcuses.com. The other resource I have is my class. Now I teach that in Provo so you probably can't get to it, but I do post the lectures online and the ones from last year just went up. So if you want those I have little cards that show you the url, they're just free. My writing lectures, okay? But as a couple, set goals with each other, this is your big advantage. And, you know, don't set goals of "I wrote more than you" set goals of, like "this is what I want to accomplish. This is my writing time. This is your writing time" and help each other out. Plus you've got a great start to a writing group.

    Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
    #12302 Copy

    Questioner

    Was there an Allomantic power that didn't make it into the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Was there an Allomantic power that didn't make it into the book. Oh... Yes, but I'm trying to remember. I had like two dozen of them? Oh boy I can't even remember the ones that I discarded. I was going to do a lot more stuff externally, stuff that like wasn't inside of you and it didn't end up working out. The big thing that I talk about with Allomancy that changed is originally I was using...silver as one of the metals, this is-- this is because... Dumb story time, so when I was a kid I painted these little miniatures that you do in D&D so your little guys can actually fight each other, right? And my brother still does this, they're awesome, I was terrible at it, but I painted these little guys. And at one point I went-- and they used to be lead, and then they realized that lead kills you *laughter* and so--or maybe it just makes you strange, I can't remember--I went and all of the prices had gone up, like by a double, because they had made them out of pewter instead. And I said to the guy "What is up with this, you are totally ripping us off. My figures now cost us 50 cents instead of--" I don't remember what it was and he went "Uh yeah it's because pewter has silver in it man. You're buying little silver figures now" and I went "Oh. That's cool." And I bought them. And so for years I thought pewter was an alloy of silver and I wrote an entire book. An Entire Book. The whole first Mistborn book with silvereyes and pewterarms until it went to my beta readers and like "There's almost no silver in pewter Brandon, you don't even really need it. Everything in this magic system works except that." and I went "Well maybe we can just pretend in this world pewter--" "No that's stupid" *laughter* So I had to change it to tin which is actually what you find in pewter. To this day my assistant Peter, who is my continuity editor, came to me and said "You realize you wrote silvereye instead of tineye in the newest Mistborn book that you just finished? It's been ten years Brandon get over it." *laughter* Still happens.

    Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
    #12303 Copy

    Questioner

    During the Steelheart tour you mentioned you were trying to work with Tor to get free ebook copies for every hardcover, did anything--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes something is coming, I'll tell you about it... So, I think the first chance we're going to have to do this is for my next Tor book which is going to be Shadows of Self, a Mistborn novel. And if you watch we're going to-- we're coming up with something-- it's still-- I think in about five years, maybe sooner than that, this will happen with every book you buy, but I'm going to try and jump the gun because I'm tired of waiting and I'm going to be impatient. So when I come to UBooks for that book there should be an option to get the book with the ebook. I can't promise 100% but I have a half-go-ahead from Tor on coming up with something to do with this. I can't give you details because we're being recorded. *laughter* I could trust you, all of you. And the all the people you have on Twitter that you are tweeting to but I'm not sure I can trust him. *gestures to camera* But no, it should be coming. And so watch, if I can get this together we should be able to announce what we're doing and how we're doing it before too long. It's something that is very important to me, I want to be able to do bundling like this. What I really would like to do is be able to sell you a copy that has, for a slightly higher price but not super high, the ebook, the audiobook, and the hardcover. That's what I'm trying to make work.

    Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
    #12304 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you choose ages for your characters and how often does that change throughout the writing process?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How do I choose ages for my characters and how often does that change the writing process. I choose my characters... It's really hard to talk about. Because I can really drill down into how I come up with settings, so magic systems and things, and I can talk a lot about how I plot and why I plot. Character is the one that I discovery write. Writers tend to fall somewhere on this spectrum generally between what we call discovery writers and we call outliners, and I'm mostly an outliner. I like a nice tight outline, I like to know where I'm going and what's going on in my world before I start writing. But I found that I have to free write my characters, I have to figure out who they are as I write. Otherwise this outline is going to be too restrictive and I'm going to end up with characters who feel wooden. And I think that's the real risk of outlining too much, is writing the life out of your characters. And so the ages do change, and the personalities change. The famous one is Mistborn, which stars a sixteen year old girl named Vin, she was a boy in the first chapter I tried to write of that. And then that didn't work so I tried a girl with a different personality and that didn't work either. So it was the third try where it's like I'm having people walk in and and try casting calls and seeing who works. And that's generally how I go about it.

    With Steelheart the character didn't click for me, and I was really worried about that. Like the prologue worked wonderfully and I wrote the prologue separately, I wrote it years before I went back to the book. Because I just had that prologue pop into my head and I wrote it out. So if you read Steelheart the prologue is like 5,000 words, it's huge, it's like twenty pages or something like that. It may not be that long, but it's a big chunk. It was the first thing that I did, and then I put the book aside. And I was really worried when I started writing that I didn't have a voice for the character, because the prologue takes place ten years before when the main character is a child. So I started writing and it didn't work, and I started writing again and it didn't work, and the thing that ended up working, this is the silliest thing, but it was when I wrote a metaphor that was really bad, a simile, right? And I'm like "Oh that's stupid" because that's what normally happens. That's what you do when you are writing, you come up with something and go "Why did I write that, it's dumb?" and you delete it. And this time I started to delete it and thought "What if I ran with that?" So I started running with it and this character grew out of the fact that he makes bad metaphors. And that's just a simple trope, a simple thing, but it grew into an entire personality. This is a person who is really earnest, trying really, really hard. They are smart, they are putting things together, but they just don't think the same way that everyone else does and they are a little bit befuddled by things. It's like they are trying a little too hard. Ironically-- Or I guess coincidentally, not ironically, the metaphor of writing bad metaphors became what grew into the personality for David. His entire personality grew out of this idea of someone who is trying so hard, and you just love him because he is trying so hard but sometimes he just faceplants. And my children do this. Like I remember my child when he was five years old and he was running toward me so excited, telling me about something and this thing that he had in his hand and there was a pole in front of him but the thing was so important. And he smacked right into and fell right back over just stunned. Like "Who put this pole in front of me?" *laughter* It was at our house, it's not like he didn't know there was a pole there, right? He was just so excited by this thing Dad, this thing! And that was where David came from.

    Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
    #12305 Copy

    Questioner

    All the people with powers fit into one category.

    Brandon Sanderson

    All the people with powers fit into one category? Yes.

    Questioner

    Was there a reason you chose to do that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Was there a reason I chose to do that? Well, I'm not sure if I can answer that... So I assume you're asking-- The original premise for Steelheart was that everyone who has superpowers is evil.

    Questioner

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And that is just the original premise so that is not a spoiler. In my-- The reason I came up with the series is I wanted to tell a story about a world where Superman was not there to save you, or what not. Where it was "what if people started gaining these powers and did terrible things with them". When I was touring for the first book I told people the story of how I came up with that, I imagined-- when someone cut me off in traffic I imagined blowing their car up and feeling very satisfied and like "Yeah" and then feeling really guilty because I'm like "Is that really what I'd do with superpowers? Oh... Well I better write a book about it." *laughter* It's what authors do, anything that makes us think, or makes us have strong emotion, we're like "Well that's going in a book". And so it was an intentional choice, it was the whole premise and concept for me. And then the question became did the powers corrupt, or did only evil people get them, or what's going on. And that is one of the primary questions going on in the first book. They've mostly kind of drilled down to an answer by the second book.

    Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
    #12306 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there a word that you made up that's a favorite word of yours?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I still find occasionally find myself, curse-wise, saying "Merciful Domi", which is from my first one. Otherwise there are lots of interesting words, lately I've put the word "Catacendre" into the Alloy of Law era to mean the end of the ash. And I like how that flows with kind of almost a psuedo-Latin on it and things like that. And so, Catacendre, that's my favorite lately, but I've been working on those books a lot.

    Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
    #12307 Copy

    Questioner

    Would you rather be a Misting or a Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Would I rather be a Misting or a Mistborn? Would I rather have one power or ALL THE POWERS?!? *laughter* I'm going to pick all the powers...

    Questioner

    What if you have to be a Misting?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What if I had to be a Misting? Coinshot, so I can jump around and fly. I should pick like Thug so I can be tough and people can punch me and I'd be "haha" or whatever but really I just want to be jumping around, flying off of cars and things.

    Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
    #12308 Copy

    Questioner

    I was wondering if you could talk a little about expletives and blasphemy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *amusedly* Expletives and blasphemy... So, It's really interesting, one of the first things that I think about when I'm coming up with a fantasy world is "How would they-- How do they curse?". And I don't know why this happens to me, but it feels like you can build out and extrapolate a lot about a culture from what they curse by, and how they curse. And it's become a thing. Like in one of my short stories I did I used *stumbles over words* saying "hell take you" to someone was a compliment because they didn't want to go to heaven because there was a god-king they hated. They were like "We don't want to go where he is so hell must be the better place". Which was a lot of fun to me in coming up with that. Or other ones I have them curse by in-world and sometimes I just use the biblical curses, the damns and hells and things like that. Why do I use those? I use those in Mistborn because I was writing about a bunch of thieves living on the streets and when I tried to use kind-of more fantasy-ish curse words it just felt fake for them. And yet it didn't feel fake when I started using "Merciful Domi" in Elantris because the religion of that world was so important to all the people that they would use the name of their own deity.So this is just something I kind of dance around and it's very interesting to me being a religious person myself. I will sometimes never-- like I don't use the curses that my characters will, but I'm not my characters and things like this. So it's something I think about, perhaps way too much, is how are the people going to curse in these books. That's a very good question.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
    #12315 Copy

    XFER

    And I saw on facebook about the discussion about the name of the second book. This is more like a request, please, keep the name of it being The Book Of Endless Pages. That title is awesome! Oh and another suggestion, please, keep making huge books! Now, after reading your books, I expect books to be at least 600 pages, so you can see I get disappointed quite often lol

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will keep the books, in this series at least, long. It's what the story demands. As for title...it does have a certain charm, but I worry that it just feels wrong to too many people. Three out of four laugh when I mention it. That doesn't bode well...

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    XFER

    Are you planning to include a gay character in the second book of The Stormlight Archive? I know there is that bridge guy, but I mean a character with some weight on the book. Would be cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've tried to be more GLBT aware in recent years, but I want to be careful. Doing it poorly could be more insulting than doing it not at all. Having Ryan, the real world Drehy from Bridge Four, as a friend does at least give me access to someone who can give early feedback and tell me where I might be going wrong. So let's just say maybe.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    Cheese Ninja

    Do you ever plan to continue "I Hate Dragons"? I have a theory that Skip does not have a separate knack to make him smell delicious to dragons, but rather that he is high in levels of human magical potential, which the dragons need in their diet.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Perhaps. I've got a few more chapters than I've posted. Including some viewpoints from the most powerful magical sword ever created. Most powerful...in that he has the most powers. Thousands of them. All useless.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
    #12326 Copy

    Nesh

    So some of us happened across a line in [Mistborn: The Final Empire] that gave us pause. It's in the chapter 19 epigraph:

    "Not so Kwaan. In a way, he is as unlikely a prophet as I am a hero. He never had an air of ceremonious wisdom - nor was he even a religious scholar. 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."

    This sounded to us like Kwaan the Terrisman might have been looking into or might have known something about Realmatics, like for instance knowing of the Realms and that things have aspects in all three. Is this the case? If so, was such knowledge common among his people or Scadrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Realmatic theory was part of the ancient Terris religion.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    zebobes

    Since Allomancy is powered by burning metal, isn't Scadrial going to eventually start running out of metal?

    Hmmm... is that why there's a space trilogy? They have to mine asteroids and other planets for their metal?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It could happen. However, it's not really a danger with the current population of Allomancers. There just aren't enough of them.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    JamesW

    You said that Preservation created the Terris Prophecies. Why couldn't Ruin see into the future and counter Preservation's plan? Is it because Ruin's intent has him focusing more on the present than the future, while Preservation (wanting to preserve forever) looks more into the future for that goal.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Looking into the future was not something Ruin was good at doing. That ability is confined to certain shards, and not others.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    Douglas

    What benefit does an aluminum savant get? Yes, I know this would normally never happen because aluminum burns itself up. Suppose a mad scientist with a willing Mistborn test subject shoved a feeding tube down the Mistborn's throat to pump in a continuous stream of aluminum, replenishing it steadily so there's always a new unburned supply. Add another tube to pump out excess water if necessary. What would he discover? Alternatively, what would Sazed with his Shard-granted knowledge know?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha, that IS a little silly of a method. However, on the extreme end of aluminum, I have in the notes the possibility of cleansing the spirit of unwanted effects of other Investitures. You'd get really good at this, and maybe even be able to cleanse the body of other impurities.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    Douglas

    1) What benefit does Compounding copper get? Exceptionally clear and detailed memories? Memories that can be split into a new coppermind while still remaining in the Feruchemist's mind? Something else?

    2) How does Feruchemical luck work? If a chromium Compounder tried his hand at day trading on the stock market, what would happen? Would it make him choose stocks that were coincidentally going to go up anyway? Would it change stock prices by altering the world around him? Would it fail because the required scale of action is too large? Something else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I've said before that I want to hold off on talking about different forms of compounding and types of twinborn until I can address them in the series. So I'll have to RAFO the first two.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    Douglas

    In Alloy of Law, evidence is uncovered that the bad guys are attempting to breed a Mistborn. The time span of the gap between this and the original Mistborn trilogy, perhaps with the interval I vaguely remember being stated for between Alloy and the next main trilogy added, is suspiciously close to 300 years. Does the organization Wax's father is part of know the location of the Pits of Hathsin, or otherwise have access to atium, either now (as of Alloy) or in the time period of the planned second trilogy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You are on the right track

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    Karkat Vantas

    Does the Physical Realm of the cosmere have more or less the same structure as our own? It's obvious from Mistborn that solar systems function as they do in our universe, but it's less obvious if there are galaxies, clusters, superclusters, and so forth. Are there?

    If the cosmere does have the same structure as our own, are the Shardworlds all in the same general area (a galaxy, for example), or are they completely spread out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question. I designed the cosmere to have much the same structure, but imagined the action happening in a compact dwarf galaxy. Still a lot going on, but far, far fewer stars and systems than our own.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    ROSHtafARian

    We're aware by now of eight of the sixteen Shards (Devotion, Dominion, Ruin, Preservation, Endowment, Honor, Odium and Cultivation) and seven of the ten core Shardworlds (the Dragonsteel world, Roshar, Scadrial, Nalthis, Sel, the White Sand world and The Silence Divine world). Given that you now how we love to obsessively speculate based on only the tiniest of information, and also given that it seems an endless source of amusement to you that we do, would you perhaps like to tease us with a smidgen of information about one of the remaining eight Shards or the three remaining Shardworlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. If I give you this, what will you speculate on in the future? :) I hate to do this, but I'm going to RAFO that one for now. Sorry.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    Douglas

    This might have been specified in the books, I don't remember, but does duralumin expend itself as well as the metal it's used with? If it does, I've got this theory that its effect is actually just to cause a regular flare, not a superflare, but it affects itself in a feedback loop that keeps forcing the flare higher until it runs out.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes you DO expend duralumin in the process.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    ROSHtafARian

    There's been enough speculation that an Elantrian world hopper appears in Way of Kings and that an Elantrian world hopper wrote the Ars Arcanum in Alloy of Law to make it likely that by the time of both books, at least some Elantrians can world hop. So my question is, at the time of Way of Kings, does Sel have the most cosmere-awareness out of any of your Shardworlds (including ones we have not seen yet), or is there another Shardworld that's more aware of the greater cosmere at this time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sel is very cosmere aware at this point, but getting to and through Shadesmar (that's not the local term, by the way) is very difficult on Sel. That stunted them for a long while. They're still fairly far ahead.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    ROSHtafARian

    In the Mistborn trilogy, the base 16 Allomantic metals separate into different groups like the Enhancement metals, etc. Given that there are 16 Shards, do they also separate into different groupings as well? For instance, are Shards like Honor and Devotion part of one 'grouping', with Shards like Cultivation and Endowment part of another?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question.

    ...

    RAFO

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    llwvyn

    My question is in regards to the writing system. In Warbreaker, when Siri is teaching Susebron to read, she mentions the letter "shash," which we now know better as a glyph from [The Way of Kings].

    so onto the questions:

    Are the two writing systems related, or is this a chance coincidence of names?

    If they are related, did they stem from the same source? (i.e., do the people of Nalthis and Roshar both descend from a more ancient group of people?)

    If I haven't gotten a RAFO yet, did the separation from these other people create the legends of being cast out of the Tranquiline Halls?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are interesting connections around the cosmere between linguistics and some cultures. Though different groups of humans were created on different planets, the Shards all share a single point of origin. However, the Tranquiline Halls legends are not related to a Nalthis/Roshar connection.

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    NinjaMeTimbers

    How intelligent is a mistwraith? Could you raise and train mistwraiths like dogs or horses, controlling what forms they take by the bones you give them? Would you be able to train yourself a horsewraith steed by giving it only the bones of a horse?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is feasible. One thing to keep in mind is that mistwraiths are people who have a blockage between the Physical and the Cognitive Realm, messing with their ability to think. Think of them as mentally-stunted people. There's enough there to train, but then you have to dig into the ethics of it...

    17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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    astalduath

    I am formerly a Sergeant in the United States Army Reserves. Having read all of your work except for your Wheel of Time additions, I couldn't help but to see that you have a good grasp of leadership displayed in your writing. When I finished reading the scene in The Way of Kings about Kaladin ordering Bridge Four to carry their bridge into battle in a way that would protect them, but ended up causing defeat for the rest of the army, you wrote a well described contrast between an NCO and a high ranking officer (not saying an officer would act like Sadeas by the means of using bridge men like he does), and how the two types of leaders look at battle. I was wondering, do you draw from your own experiences, or study others, or something entirely different you use when you write leadership roles in your characters and how they act in different situations utilizing that trait?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's very flattering to hear. I've made a study of leadership in many different areas, the military being one of them. It's a topic that fascinates me, and I try hard to get it right. I wouldn't say I have any practical experience in it, unfortunately--just a lot of study, questioning, and curiosity.