Recent entries

    Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
    #12452 Copy

    Lightning

    If you have a metalmind, you have, like, weight stored in it, and you want to transfer it to a different metalmind, can you just transfer it directly? Or does it pass into you, and then you lose some of the power, and then it goes...

    Brandon Sanderson

    You don't have to draw it completely out. You are gonna lose a little in the transfer. But it's not as much as you probably think. You can kind of do a little hack thing where it goes through.

    Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
    #12458 Copy

    luckat

    What is something that you would have put in the Nalthian essay if you had one in there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I probably would have talked about how close some of these scholars are on Nalthis to understanding all of this. They're probably the closest to understanding the nature of the cosmere of anyone outside of the people who are actually worldhoppers. I probably also would have given some hints where the pool is.

    Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
    #12459 Copy

    Djarskublar

    So, say you have a gold/gold Twinborn and they worldhop to Roshar and they study the magic and do the whole Khriss and Nazh thing for a while so they know a lot about the magic, but they've also left themselves a lot of options with what they can do. So then they manage to pull up a gold shadow of them having actually become a Surgebinder and then kind of meld themselves with that shadow a bunch, could they change their Cognitive Identity enough so that they could, like, tap a lot of gold and grow the spren and actually be a Surgebinder?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Unfortunately, no. It's a good question, but no. That won't work for a couple of reasons. One of which is, simply creating Investiture is not something that can happen, right?

    Djarskublar

    They are a gold Twinborn, so they can tap a lot of gold...

    Brandon Sanderson

    They can tap a whole bunch, that's true, they can do that, but simply having it is not gonna create a spren because the spren is from a different god, right, a different Shard.

    Djarskublar

    So if they had Regrowth cast on them, would that do it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *hems and haws for a second*

    Djarskublar

    A really, really big Regrowth, like in the middle of a Highstorm.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmmm, this, you are getting to the realm of plausibility at that point. I still don't think gold is the way to do it. I think you just get all that Investiture. It would become sapient by you sticking a whole bunch of Investiture in, and then you can bond to that. But it's not like people gain what you would have done. Does that make sense? That's just what's going to happen, is you're gonna, you can create a, potentially create a spren that way, but you are more likely to end up with something like Nightblood. But you could potentially create a spren, but I mean you're just gonna end up...

    Djarskublar

    So there are other, more optimal ways to do that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, go bond a spren. (evil grin of course)

    Djarskublar

    But you can't easily bond multiple, and if you did this you could maybe get multiple.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nyeaaahhh... The spren still has to choose. If you want to be a Surgebinder, the choice is being made. You can't fake your way into it. Decision and Honor are too much a part of Surgebinding for you to be able to fake your way into that. Other magics you might be able to do that. Other magics that don't require, like... Surgebinding works because a piece of Honor or Cultivation or a mix has chosen you specifically. There is will from the actual Investiture involved in it in Roshar. So it's not something you can cheat your way into, right. But cheating your way into Breath might be easier.

    Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
    #12460 Copy

    Djarskublar

    *inaudible* [I asked if it would be possible to recall Breaths from an object that you had not placed there if the Awakener who did place them there had no Identity at the time.]

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, this is a very detailed, specific question, if you didn't hear it. It's dealing with the idea of Investiture and Identity, and things like this. If you can unkey the magic with Identity, for almost any case, it's going to make it much easier for other people to use. That's gonna be a blanket statement through the cosmere. If you can blank your Identity, it's at least gonna be able to be used by someone else with a blank Identity. Sometimes it's keyed, so the blank will not work with somebody who is themselves keyed. But if you can blank and they can blank, you can almost always guarantee the magic will be able to be used.

    Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
    #12465 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    For instance, Lopen did become king of Alethkar. For a short time. Because he and his family hid King Elhokar and, at least in his perception, convinced the king to abdicate for a short time so they could not lie when they said "We don't have King Elhokar with us." This is canon, okay. And, so, Lopen became... In his mind, at least, they got the king to agree for a fifteen-minute "Lopen is king of Alethkar" abdication, so that they wouldn't have to lie (because it was very important to them), so they could get him out of danger when some people were looking for him. That story, some day I might write it, I don't know if I'll ever be able to. But when he says (I think he references that at some point in one of the later books) "I was king," he really was!

    Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
    #12466 Copy

    Questioner

    Broadsheets of Bands of Mourning. The story that Allomancer Jak's sidekick... in it, there's this <part>, "After disembarking the the lift, I walked to the location where my foe would have hit the ground. I found no trace of him, and though no one witnessed his fall, a young white-haired man was there and offered to tell me a story. I declined." Is that Hoid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, there's a reference to a young white-haired man offering to tell a story. Whenever those words combine together, chances are very, very good that Hoid is involved. Yes, that is Hoid, but one thing I have to tell you is, not everything in that story... you are getting a story which was written by somebody, and then turned into a thing for a broadsheet. So, there have been some inaccuracies perpetuated in the broadsheets. So, yes, that's where that came from.

    Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
    #12468 Copy

    Slowswift

    When you take a memory out of a coppermind it starts <degrade away>.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Slowswift

    Would that happen with someone who has an eidetic memory?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well... no. With the exception of, a photographic memory is disputed by science. In the cosmere they exist, magically enhanced. But there is science in our world that says these aren't real things. So, I'm not sure. You'd have to go to the science and see if they're actually real.

    Slowswift

    But if it is real, then it would...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Then it would not degrade. It's the brain's own failings that are causing this.

    Ad Astra 2017 ()
    #12470 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll be reading to you from one of the interludes, which are interesting things to write.

    So if you haven't read Stormlight-- Epic fantasy has this sort of problem, right? I love epic fantasy. I grew up reading epic fantasy. It's my first love of genres. And I have an advantage over some of the people writing epic fantasy in that, like you know, [George R. R. Martin and Robert Jordan], in that I've read [George Martin and Robert Jordan], and they don't have that advantage... Robert Jordan couldn't read Robert Jordan and necessarily had to write the stories, and I feel like at-- when I sat down to approach Stormlight Archive, which I kind of want to be my big epic, right? Hopefully I don't do anything bigger than this... *laughter* 520,000 words long. The writers in the crowd-- Yeah, 520 is pretty long. It's a quarter longer than Words of Radiance was. I am trimming it in my fifth revision. That's where I normally trim. So maybe we'll get it down to like 470 or 450 or something. But at 540... *inaudible* wants to go up. So I looked at these epic fantasy books that had come out before it-- series-- and I said, "What can I learn from them? How can I prevent myself from following in some of the same problems?" And I noticed that a lot of these big epic fantasies have this issue, kind of mid-series, where the side characters kind of take over the story, and the story deviates from its focus on to a side character focus for a while. It seems to happen very commonly. And as a writer my instincts said what's happening is the writer is wanting to show the expansiveness of the world, which is one of the big things we try to do in epic fantasy, right? They're trying to show the breadth of it, and they do this by adding characters from lots of different walks of life and different parts of the world. Which is a good instinct, right? It's gonna give you that sense of size and scale to the epic fantasy. But what happens is you kind of promise them these side stories will have their resolutions, and as you're pushing kind of towards the ending of your series you realize, "I need to tie in all these side characters." And so you end up with these books that are really focused on side characters, wrapping up their stories, and it feels like it creates a speed bump in the series. And so I said, "Well what can I do with like the format of my books that will mitigate this? Is there something I can do?" So I was kind of-- I'm a big fan of...

    My thought was, I would write the books and I would find natural breakpoints inside of each book where it wouldn't feel like as much of a speed bump to kind of go off to somewhere else. Like, one of the problems with like some of these side stories would be like you're really into one of the main characters' stories and then it's like, "And then here's viewpoint from random person that you don't care about," right? Which you do care about! Some of the side characters in Wheel of Time were some of my favorite. But it's just that momentum you've got on the main characters, and then it feels like it's a break, we don't see them forever. So I try to find natural break points, that I would then insert completely random things from around the world, but I would only give myself, like, two of those per break and then I have to be done. And you know-- this forcing myself in this format with the interludes I felt like allowed-- would allow the reader to be able to know what's coming, so that, you know, if you can anticipate-- if you're like, "Alright, we have our break now. We can go to the side characters. Really enjoy them. Get to see the breadth of the world," And then we can come back to the main story and know that it's coming back very quickly. And also know that these side characters aren't going to take over the story. That there's only going to be this space for them. And you also kind of know-- for those -- I do know some people who read an entire Stormlight Archive book and then go back and read the interludes, as if they-- They're basically a short story collection in the world of Roshar. Now, skipping them is dangerous because I usually use the interludes for one important character. And each interlude has one really relevant character for each book. So in the first one, Szeth has interludes, right? And he's a very relevant character. And in this one-- well you'll see who it is in this one.

    But I also like doing readings from the interludes because reading the interludes don't spoil the book nearly as much for those who haven't read the first ones, or things like that.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12472 Copy

    Questioner

    [...] Do you find in writing that your faith informs some aspects?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s a good question. The things I am fascinated by end up in books. I am not a CS Lewis or a Phillip Pullman. I don’t sit down with a message I want to get across. I explore who a character is and try to figure out what message they would want to get across, then try to make it work. But you can find all kinds of things. My upbringing is going to be deeply influential on what is in the books. So yes and no. I leave that more to people who want to analyze and find things. I think that’s legit--I got an English degree. It’s totally fine to take it and be like, “This is the unconscious influence.” I more just write the books. Tolkien insisted to the end of his days that Lord of the Rings was not a metaphor for WWI, and you read that book and if you know anything about WWI you think, “This really feels like a metaphor for WWI.” It’s that sort of thing. You write the book and explore themes that are important to certain characters, and theoretically some of that does come out to the readers and they can connect it and put it together.  That’s basically how I approach it. I am very fascinated by religion, as you can tell. So I try to have characters--Stormlight is a good example. I wanted to have characters who are on all different types of spectrums. You’ve got Kaladin who’s agnostic. It’s basically the classic “I don’t know if there’s a god. If there is, I’m angry at him.” You’ve got Dalinar, who’s a reformist. He’s a Martin Luther, he’s a Mohammed, he’s a Joseph Smith. You know, “Religion is not doing what it needs to right now, we need to expand this.” You’ve got someone like Navani who’s a traditionalist, who wants the old religion to really work, who is trying to reconcile this. You’ve got Jasnah who is straight-up atheist. And then you’ve got someone more like Taravangian who would claim to be an atheist, but what he’s done is taken something nonreligious and ascribed religion to it, sort of like Confucianism, where something that was a philosophy is turning into a religion. And I try to get people on all sides of this thing. And also the religions. You’ve got the Alethi, you’ve got the Passions, you’ve got different ways to approach it, because I think that makes for a more interesting story when you like all these people and then they all disagree.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12474 Copy

    yulerule

    In the annotations for Elantris, you were talking about the shardpool. I know that it was the earliest one of three, and the cosmere wasn’t fully developed.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have expanded it since.

    yulerule

    So that annotation felt a little odd.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’ll have to go back and look at it. I knew that they were going into the cognitive realm when I wrote it, but I had changed… Roshar for instance, did not have the spren when I wrote that. And Mistborn was only in the outline stages. No, when I wrote Elantris I hadn’t even written Mistborn. I also, you have to remember, early in my career I was being very vague about all of this. Because I was worried that people would get distracted by this and it would hurt my career. So you notice in the early appearances of Hoid, I used pseudonyms for him. Even in unpublished books where it’s obvious it’s him, he’s got a pseudonym and you never know. Because I didn’t want people to get this and be like, “He’s trying too much.” So I was really coy about a lot of things. But other things I didn’t figure out until later on, when I’m like “How exactly is this going to work?” It really helped once I had Peter to help me work out the physics of it and I could bounce ideas off of someone who knew enough about realmatic theory and stuff like that.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12475 Copy

    Questioner

    [For Mistborn Era 2-3, with taking technology forward]. Were there specific concerns you had, or concerns you have going forward, about how they will integrate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, I think I’m going to be fine on that. I mean there are things that will pop up, and I’m just used to the fact that I’m just going to have to say, “This is how this works, because we didn’t think of this ahead of time.” I’ll just deal with that. That’s the biggest thing that will probably happen. But, you know, I’m very confident that I can make it work. I’ve done it enough, and I’ve been working on Mistborn long enough. My biggest concern is not that, my biggest concern is that there are a certain segment of fantasy readers who just don’t like guns in their fantasy, and will never get to experience the later era Mistborn books because of that. And that’s just, well, you just have to deal with that.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12476 Copy

    yulerule

    If Marasi and Wayne are standing near each other, and made a speed bubble….

    Brandon Sanderson

    They’d cancel each other out.

    yulerule

    Totally cancel each other out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, if they make it the same size. If not, they will make like a Venn diagram thing.

    yulerule

    If they overlap completely, the circle overlaps each other completely, it'd cancel each other out? I mean, they could walk forward freely?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, they could probably.

    yulerule

    Because they are still burning the metals, so is there something still going on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is still something going on, but it is negating one another. But no, she’s got a point because you could drop one, well, I suppose you could just put one up. If there were a reason that were important, then yes, you could do that.

    yulerule

    But otherwise nothing’s happening.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, you’re not passing the barrier, and having the jolt of power.

    yulerule

    So something could really cross the barrier? Because it is there but not there.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but if you are completely negating and running at the same power then yes.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12477 Copy

    Questioner

    Let’s say that the fires of industry keep progressing in Middle Earth, and someone builds a spaceship, they get in it and go up. What do you think happens?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Middle Earth? I think it is heavily implied by the time that happens that Middle Earth has changed to a place where there is no magic, so I think it works just fine.

    Questioner

    [Follow-up on if Middle Earth is in the same universe as the cosmere]

    Brandon Sanderson

    You’re not talking to a Tolkein scholar here.

    [...]

    Yes, the cosmere takes place in a place where there is another branch of physics that is investiture, and that is the big change.

    Questioner

    Do you ever run into problems with that, does it break physics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, yeah. If you look too deep in a fantasy book we are breaking the laws of thermodynamics and we are breaking causality. Those are the two big ones. And those are very important things to be… very dangerous things to be breaking. And you could probably write a fantasy novel that didn’t break those two things. Maybe? I don’t know. The way I avoid breaking laws of thermodynamics is by saying, we’ve got investiture that things can transfer into as well. We’ve got matter, energy, and investiture, I’ve added something to the tripod and therefore it looks like I’m just bending the laws of thermodynamics.

    When you actually get down into the nitty-gritty, it starts to break down. It just has to. Causality is the big one. Once you have people teleporting and things like this, run the train experiment. I mean, you just have to say “It’s magic” at some point in a fantasy book. For most of them. I think you could do it, but in mine, with a  grand scale magic system I want to do, we just have to say, “at that point it’s magic.” And this is how I think a fantasy writer differs from a science fiction writer.

    A SF writer takes today and extrapolates forward. I take what is interesting and extrapolate backward. Usually. For instance speed bubbles. “I want to have speed bubbles. This is how they work. Peter, tell me the physics.” And we work it out together. We work out physics and try to hit the big trouble points and build into the magic why certain things happen. But that doesn’t stop us from making speed bubbles where there is time passing differently without using mass or whatnot to create time dilation, and it causes all kinds of weird things to happen.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12478 Copy

    yulerule

    Are any of the interlude characters that we’ve met in other interludes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You’ve met Axies the collector, and he appears in another interlude. Rysn is in an interlude in the first two books. You met Ash in one of the interludes and she’s going to be an important character, she’s very relevant. So I would say that a lot of the interludes have characters that show up again or are likely to show up again.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12479 Copy

    Questioner

    Writing question: At what point in the process do you decide whether or not you are going to include epigraphs in the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I generally, during the writing of a book, make the call. I don’t usually write them until the end. Then I write them all out together and divide them into the places they belong.

    Questioner

    I feel that we know a lot less about Nalthis than the other planets because of the lack of epigraphs.

    Brandon Sanderson

    [...]

    Yeah I want each book to have a little bit of a feel of its own. I don’t want to do epigraphs just to do epigraphs. I want to do them on books that it matches.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12480 Copy

    yulerule

    In the reading you did today, at the very end [Gurv] was saying “I have an order from someone.” Is that someone part of some secret society? Because there’s a bunch of secret societies.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, that is definitely going to be a big RAFO, because I haven’t even released the book yet. Let’s not spoil books that aren’t even out yet from readings I did. But I rarely put in an interlude that doesn’t have some tangential relationship, even if it’s just some stuff like letting you know who the Aimians are or things like that.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12481 Copy

    Questioner

    You have two characters, Hoid and Vasher, who really stand out even if you don’t know anything about the cosmere. Are people who aren’t cosmere-aware going to be left wondering what the heck is up with them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, probably. But it’s okay to have some mystery, I figure, as long as I don’t let the cosmere stories really distract. If there are occasionally things where you think, “That was weird, I don’t get that” or “That guy’s kind of different.” That’s fine. It’s when you start to feel like everyone else is laughing at a joke you don’t know, when you’re not part of something and you can’t understand the piece of fiction because of it, then we’re in trouble. Unless it’s a side story. Like Mistborn: Secret History, you’ve got to know the cosmere to get most of that, and that’s okay. But the main line books I will write in such a way that… So the Stormlight Archive is the story of Roshar. It’s not necessarily the story of all the different elements influencing Roshar. Maybe someday I’ll do one that has that, but I’ll be very up-front about it.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12482 Copy

    Shogun (paraphrased)

    [Is the composition of the crust on Scadrial similar to the composition of the Earth’s crust, with regard to things like aluminum? And how will that affect the economy when they discover it?]

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    [The compositions are very similar and there is a large amount of aluminum in Scadrial’s crust…] (Verbatim) The ability to get aluminum easily and cheaply, it’s going to do things to the economy. Much more than it did even to our economy, which was transformed dramatically by easy access to cheap aluminum.

    Footnote: First bit parphrased, then recording starts
    Boskone 54 ()
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    Questioner (paraphrased)

    [Is it completely impossible for Allomantic Steel/Iron users to Push/Pull on Aluminum or just very difficult, and a more powerful Allomancer (like TLR or using the Bands of Mourning) could do it?]

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Excellent question. I’m glad you’re arguing about that.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12484 Copy

    Questioner

    [Us discussing savantism off to the side and Brandon overhears us]

    Brandon Sanderson

    What am I going to change?

    BeskarKomrk

    Something about savantism and how it works.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, savantism I’m tweaking. It’s not going to mean anything to most people, but if you are studying savantism, watch how it evolves in future books. There is an interlude from a savant viewpoint in Oathbringer, though.

    yulerule

    A Radiant savant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A soulcasting savant.

    Footnote: Likely referring to the Kaza interlude from Oathbringer
    Boskone 54 ()
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    yulerule

    The parshendi didn’t have the emotions like Contempt, Ridicule [etc. before the Everstorm?]

    Brandon Sanderson

    They did have those emotions, but they didn’t match them to the Rhythms the same way. A wide variety of emotions can be matched to a rhythm. It doesn’t mean they didn’t have those emotions.

    yulerule

    So you are saying that, like Ridicule is a new version of Amusement, they could have used ridicule but say it to Amusement? [...]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    yulerule

    And that’s a harsher form, Ridicule?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is just how the rhythms are named. I’ll leave it to your interpretation whether they are harsher or not. A rhythm is just a beat. Whether it is harsh or not depends on the interpretation of the person listening to it. But yes, you could have ridiculed people to Amusement before.

    yulerule

    But you have new rhythms.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You have new rhythms which have a different feel to them.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12486 Copy

    BeskarKomrk

    You said in the Warbreaker annotations that Denth has the Royal Locks separate from being a Returned, as part of the royal line. Does Shashara also have the royal locks?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um… That would be a valid guess.

    Footnote: Denth having the royal locks independently is from a Reddit AMA, not the annotations (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/190-rfantasy-ama-2013/#e4112)
    Boskone 54 ()
    #12487 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there eventually going to be a Way of Kings tenth anniversary edition?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, if I have the ability to make it, if Tor doesn’t reverse and shut these down, then yes we’ll make it. My guess is, we will probably release it broken up in a slipcase, sold as one, because I worry about the binding on a nice leatherbound like that. So my guess is we’ll start doing those divided by parts or something like that. We’ll figure it out when we do it.

    Boskone 54 ()
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    Questioner

    [The events of the Mistborn trilogy, obviously the … of people hopping worlds] Where does that happen in reference to the events of Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The further we get along, the closer the series are happening together. Stormlight is centuries from Mistborn, but new Mistborn and Stormlight are happening closer together. And the further I go the closer these things will get together in time, because that’s when we have really starting to have people influence one another, and things like that. White Sand, which is actually the first one we’ve released chronologically, is really pretty far back. Elantris and Mistborn, we’re getting closer and closer together.

    Boskone 54 ()
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    Questioner

    The number sixteen is obviously very important. Is there a reason why that particular number, instead of, say, fourteen.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is a reason, but it isn’t as much import as you are perhaps thinking.

    Boskone 54 ()
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    BeskarKomrk

    What is the rough order of magnitude of years between Vo, the First Returned, and Warbreaker. Like thousands of years?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I believe that it is. I’m going to have to look at my own documents, but you can get a tentative yes that it is a long time.

    BeskarKomrk

    Was there just nothing interesting happening in that thousands of years?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, interesting stuff happens. Thousands? I’m not sure it’s thousands. Let me RAFO that, we’d need to look at the master copy of the timeline to answer questions like this. You’re giving me numbers and I’m like “It’s that number, no it’s that number.” So we’ll just go with the RAFO on this.

    Footnote: Reading Hoid in Chapter 32 of Warbreaker it's likely been somewhere in the order of hundreds of years.
    Boskone 54 ()
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    BeskarKomrk

    [He started to ask the question and then realized that the book he had given him to sign was already signed, so there’s some unrelated stuff in there] When the Listeners change form, they do that by bonding with spren, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    BeskarKomrk

    Are there specific spren that they need to bond with for specific forms?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    BeskarKomrk

    Is the spren for dullform lifespren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    Boskone 54 ()
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    Shogun

    If you had to guess right now, what year would you think Dragonsteel will come out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It will be the book after Stormlight 10 is the way it is planned right now. So, add those up, we’ve got seven more Stormlights, four more Mistborn, two Elantris, and one Warbreaker. After all those, and I generally do one a year, so add all that up. So 7... 11... 12 years and then I will write it, probably, is what it looks like? 11... no 13... 14 years.

    Ad Astra 2017 ()
    #12494 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    For those who don't know it is Dalinar's book. Each story, each novel in The Stormlight Archive delves into one of the main characters' backstories and catches you up how they got to their first chapters in the first book. So the first book was Kaladin, second book's Shallan, third book's Dalinar. Right now, fourth book is Eshonai, fifth book is Szeth. I could end up switching those two. But that's kind of how that works. And then, for those who don't know, The Stormlight Archive-- at the end of book five there will come to a conclusion, though it's not the main conclusion, it's the end of the arc. We will leave Roshar for a while while I write a few more books, and when we come back Roshar in-world will have passed about fifteen years. And then we will do the back five characters as I call them-- their backstories. So that's Lift, Jasnah, Taln, Renarin, and Ash-- yeah, Ash. There's two Heralds among that group, so you can kind of guess what those flashbacks will deal with, in the back five. The main characters of the first five, who survive, will still be a big part of those back five. So it's not a separate series, but I do consider it two separate arcs. We need to pass some time for some various reasons.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
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    WeiryWriter

    Could you explain a little more about Cognitive Shadows? When you first mentioned the name and gave the examples of Kelsier and the Shades from Threnody you kind of gave the impression that they were kind of like ghosts. But this past December at the Orem signing you mentioned that the Stormfather and the mist were also Cognitive Shadows. The first makes sense to me, I had an [entire theory about that (although I argued he was specifically Tanavast’s and not Honor’s). The second however really doesn’t make sense to me, unless it was actually the mist spirit that is the shadow and that got missed in the report (it wasn’t verbatim), but even still Preservation is still alive at that point so how can he have a “ghost”? (Unless him sacrificing his mind to form Ruin’s prison counts as “death” in this situation?)

    Brandon Sanderson

    On the first question, I did not say the mists themselves were a Cognitive Shadow. That must have been a misunderstanding. The Stormfather totally is, though. Cognitive Shadows are basically ghosts, which can take a lot of different forms in the Cosmere, but follow general rules.

    WeiryWriter

    Is the mist /spirit/ a Cognitive Shadow then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The mist spirit is a little more complicated than that. That was actually Leras, kind of. He was in the process of dying. But other things are involved there that, unfortunately, must be RAFOd.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
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    focoma

    We've seen Kandra True Bodies made of crystal, stone, or wood. Can a kandra use a True Body made of metal? If so, what happens if each metal "bone" had a Hemalurgic charge, and each one is touching an appropriate bind point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. And that would work, better than you think, because Kandra have fluid bind points. But too many spikes can be dangerous to the psyche, even with Ati not messing things up.

    Ad Astra 2017 ()
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    Questioner

    So at the end of Words of Radiance Szeth gets Nightblood. But Nightblood on Nalthis will suck your Breath until you die.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    So how can Szeth-- like presumably it takes whatever Roshar's form of Investiture is.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    So how-- but wouldn't it kill Szeth?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So that's-- First off let's make-- let's mention this: no spoiler questions. That spoils the end of Words of Radiance.

    Questioner

    Oh, I'm sorry.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're okay, but let's avoid spoiler questions. That one will specifically be answered in the next book. So you don't have to worry about that as much. That is a read and find out. That one-- but it's a read and find out that's very obviously the answer is coming.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
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    focoma

    What are the names of the Aons for West, North, and South? I'm assuming that these are also the names of the other cities around Elantris besides Kae ("East"). Is that right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Peter pointed out to me that we really needed these, so they should be in the Elantris 10th anniversary edition.

    Ad Astra 2017 ()
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    Questioner

    You mentioned you like the interludes-- that the assigned characters don't take over the story. Is that to say that we will never really see those characters again or do--

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will see them on occasion. For instance, in the first book there's a guy named Axies the Collector, right? And in the second book in one of the interludes somebody walks by him, right? But the idea is that the interlude characters, for the most part are-- I'm not promising you an entire story about them. They-- you're getting a glimpse of the world and most of them will not return. A few of them will, on occasion. You'll see references to them and things like that. Their main point-- the main point of them is so that we can-- I can just have a pressure valve to just tell stories about Roshar that don't have to necessarily be in the main plot. Though I always choose one-- I choose them very specifically, right? I do them knowing that there's something-- some part of the world that you need as a clue for later on. If you like foreshadowing and stuff, a lot of these have foreshadowing.