Recent entries

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12901 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 ()
    #12902 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 ()
    #12903 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 ()
    #12904 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 ()
    #12905 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 ()
    #12906 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 ()
    #12907 Copy

    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 ()
    #12908 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 ()
    #12909 Copy

    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 ()
    #12910 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 ()
    #12911 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 ()
    #12912 Copy

    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 ()
    #12913 Copy

    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 ()
    #12914 Copy

    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 ()
    #12915 Copy

    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 ()
    #12916 Copy

    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 ()
    #12918 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 ()
    #12920 Copy

    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 ()
    #12921 Copy

    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 ()
    #12922 Copy

    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 ()
    #12923 Copy

    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 ()
    #12924 Copy

    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.

    Ad Astra 2017 ()
    #12925 Copy

    Questioner

    What's the etymology of "slontze"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    ...This is from the Reckoners series, Steelheart. I wanted a fake Yiddish word. So I, you know, mention things like this, and it's not actually-- I-- It doesn't quite fit, but I wanted something that had the right feel, like that. I don't know why I wanted a fake Yiddish word. That just felt-- So I went through a bunch of Yiddish slang, and that's the word I came up with. So, that's what I do a lot, like "I want the feel of this."

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12926 Copy

    Questioner

    We know that Hoid is really old. Is there anyone else around that same age who is not a Shardholder?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. He communicates with one of these people by a letter in one of them.

    Questioner

    *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not very many, let’s say that.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12927 Copy

    Ironeyes

    So harmonium, we have a working theory that the reason it's so volatile is because some of the subatomic particles are associated with Ruin and some of them are [of?] Preservation. Is that true?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's basically what's going on is that it's creating a very unstable metal. Now, it is in the nature of the Cosmere not a compound but an element. But, you could call it a subatomic particle sure. It's very volatile because it is in nature spiritually in contrast with itself. And so though it is a single element rather than a compound, the spiritual nature is not happy as it is, and you can set up in the physical realm, through reactivity things that would just rip it apart and really your energy is not, your energy in that is actually pulling from the Spiritual realm, and so that's why it can be so much more explosive than even the chemistry would account for.

    Ironeyes

    So it's not that the subatomic particles are invested, it's that they have a spiritual identity which causes them to...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Ironeyes

    So then it's not creating an oxide because after the spiritual energy goes away from the explosion[unintelligible] metal, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, and...

    Ironeyes

    So you can't find harmonium oxide in the water afterwards.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right right right right. Because it's not, it's, yeah.  But you might be able to find something else, which is really relevant to the cosmere. And to Scadrial.

    Ironeyes

    So the core elements, the core particles, having extra repulsion causes them to have a nuclear potential.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would not call it nuclear because it's not the same exact thing. But there is a cosmere equivalent, to... I mean, you could do nuclear power just the same in the cosmere, but since we have a third kind of state of matter, right, matter, energy, Investiture, you have a third axis that you know, you can release energy from matter, you can release investiture from matter, and things like that. So it's similar, but following its own rules that I have a little more... that are controlled by me, right. But are built on this idea. So once you add [unintelligible for a few syllables] that matter can now exist in this third state, you get all sorts of weird things, which one of the things that happens is, you can get an energy release in sort of the same way. A reaction, I'm not going to call it a nuclear reaction, but of the same vein.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12928 Copy

    Questioner

    What stories should I read that have Ambition’s influence in them? Where should I look for Ambition’s influence?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ambition’s influence. So, uhm, you have seen it but I’m not going to say anything more than that. Let’s just say that the things that happened with Ambition have had ramifications across many places in the cosmere.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12929 Copy

    Questioner

    Parshendi carapace, is that necessary to them bonding spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. There are some forms that don’t have carapace, or very much at all. I mean they might have little bits on their nails and things like that. So no it is not necessary. Good question.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12930 Copy

    Questioner

    So Lift is having trouble with the physical aspects of Edgedancing. Could she actually increase friction with her surge to give her better control?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the sort of thing that she needs to learn how to do, is to modulate the amount of friction she creates in various places. But you know it’s also skill-based, there’s a lot of practice involved in things like this but, yes, uhm... If you look at the other surges you could probably guess that she is capable of much more than she has expressed so far.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12931 Copy

    yulerule

    If a Parshendi takes a parshman by the hand, gives them a gemstone with a spren in it, leads him out into a highstorm, can the parshman become a Parshendi in the same way that they become a voidbringer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Now, yes, before no. The everstorm changed them, there’s something going on. In fact, as that scene continues, with Gavilar and Eshonai, there is a clue in that scene. But I didn’t get to that part.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12932 Copy

    Questioner

    Are we going to learn more about the Tukari in the next Stormlight Archive book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um… You will learn a little… I don’t want to say yes because then you will be expecting more than there is. There is some. You’ll get at least one major thing you learn, but it’s not amazing.

    Questioner

    Are some of the epigraphs going to be from versions of the Dawnchant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12933 Copy

    Questioner

    How does liquid metal interact with allomancy? (e.g. mercury)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, right. I’ve always imagined it working like a ferrofluid in a magnetic field. You can pull and push on it, but it’s going to be weird and goopy. I haven’t had reason to push and pull on mercury yet, or any of the other liquid metals.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12934 Copy

    Questioner

    Do metalloids [on the periodic table] count as metals for the purpose of allomancy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    So things like gallium and antimony…

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Not everything is pushable or pullable, but it counts in allomancy, and there are certain things… there are certain relationships.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12935 Copy

    Questioner

    When Sazed moved the planet in the third Mistborn, I know it has it’s own solar system but did it affect the cosmere in any way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not in huge amounts. Technically yes, because you change gravity, but they are lightyears away, so they wouldn’t even notice. I mean, it changed Shadesmar a little bit too, so there were upheavals, but it was not drastic. If what you are looking for is the cause of the earthquake on Sel, then no. The earthquake was years before.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12936 Copy

    Questioner

    Roshar has three moons that orbit it, and I notice that these orbits somewhat collide. I was wondering if the moons have anything to do with...

    Brandon Sanderson

    The moons are a little bit of a hint, but it’s not about what you’re thinking. They are not in a stable orbit on astronomical terms. They’ll last tens of thousands of years before they degrade. But it is a little bit of a hint of things. The fact that Roshar has three moons in a very specific orbit is a hint about things.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12937 Copy

    Questioner

    What’s the most untraditional advice you can give to a writer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is not that untraditional, but it sounds weird to people. Don’t major in or study English. Major in or study something that you are passionate about and let that inform your writing. You will do grammar and structure and all that stuff naturally by writing. That said, I was an English major so it’s a “do as I say, not as I did” sort of thing.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12938 Copy

    Questioner

    I wondered if it's difficult for you sometimes-- it seems like you try to keep your writing PG. Is that ever hard like to still do the character development?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know it hasn't. It's just how I naturally write. It's not ever really been a struggle either direction. I write what feels natural. And so sometimes it strays into PG-13 because that's appropriate for the character. Sometimes it goes the other direction. I just do what feels right to me, knowing that I'm a bit of a prude. And so my own attitudes certainly do shape it.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12940 Copy

    Questioner

    How much self will do the Shards (the person, not the power associated) have, [is it complicated by having more pieces?]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So they do have a lot of personal will power. They can do things. But the longer they hold the power, the more their will starts to align with that of the power. Resisting it can keep it from happening, but it will eventually happen. So yes and no. It depends on the individual, it depends on how long.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #12941 Copy

    trevorade

    Is investiture finite? Hemalurgy and a Return's need to consume breath seems to show us that it can be destroyed. If it is finite, is the Cosmere's magic source doomed to the law of entropy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Investiture can not be created or destroyed. It follows it's own version of the laws of Thermodynamics.

    Joe_____

    So what happens to the investiture that is lost when a person is spiked and the spike isn't set in the new person immediately? Does it return to the big pool of investiture in the sky like the power from wheel of time where if its not actively being used it returns to the source?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What happens to someone's body when it's not being used by a particular person? The system is built to work like that.

    /r/books AMA 2015 ()
    #12944 Copy

    Avatar_Yung-Thug

    Quick question: I had a hard time "hearing" the Parshendi's singing in my head while reading The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. Are there any real world examples you drew from you could give me so we have a better idea of what they sound like to you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was tough, as I didn't want to constrain their language in English to a certain rhythm, as I felt it would be too gimmicky on the page. I used Hindu chants in my head, though, so that might help.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12947 Copy

    Questioner

    Where did the body Kelsier is using come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s actually a RAFO. You will find out about that, probably in a Secret History, if I get to it. Eventually, I’ll answer that question for people. I don’t want to answer it now, because it is something I could put into a book.

    Questioner

    I just realized that his body, most of it was gone. The bones might still be around.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The bones were in use, and were in Hero of Ages. The bones had made an appearance. They were still around, but whether that’s what he’s using, I’ll leave.

    Questioner

    I didn’t think putting a spike into his skull [...]

    Brandon Sanderson

    You’ll find that out eventually.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12948 Copy

    Questioner

    Thank you so much with all the work you guys have done with Writing Excuses. I’m just starting to get into your fiction, I haven’t read much yet, but Writing Excuses I’ve been listening to for a few years and it’s helped me a lot.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can blame it on Katherine Kurtz, the fantasy/science fiction writer. I met her at a con when I was 18 and she sat down and chatted with me for like half an hour one-on-one about how to be a writer. And I’m like “Oh, that told me so much!”. I’d never gotten that sort of thing before, and it made me realize, becoming a writer is one of these weird things where you can’t learn it except from other writers. You can teach yourself to write, but actually getting published and how to approach problems when you run into them. So many people writer’s block, I feel, because they hit something, they don’t have personal experience dealing with it. Working through that on your own is just really hard, but if you can hear other author’s perspective, you can try those tools and find something that works for you.

    Boskone 54 ()
    #12949 Copy

    Questioner

    Have you ever read 1491 by Charles C. Mann?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I have.

    Questioner

    Did that inform [plans for The Aztlanian]…

    Brandon Sanderson

    That did inform, that was one of the main books I went to in my research where they’re like, you need to read this book. I read that book and I loved it. Even the book points out some people don’t agree with this hypothesis, but it feels right to me, so I’m running with that idea.

    Questioner

    Even if the details weren’t totally clear in the archeological record, the story in it is just...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is great. This is the idea that South America in particular but, Central America and parts of North America, were much more densely populated than we assumed and the introduction of diseases that the Europeans brought was more devastating than previous people had theorized. Which is really, really interesting, because it deals with this other idea of America Pox, right? Why did the Europeans not get a disease? Why is there no mythical America Pox that was given back to them? That’s a big question that people have. If you haven’t thought about it, you’re like “Hey, yeah!”. They were both isolated populations from one another, why was there no disease transfers? One of the big theories is that this goes back to animals. Most deadly diseases that we have transferred from animals to humans and they kill us because diseases don’t actually want to kill you. They want you to get sick enough to keep spreading the disease, as long as you have the disease, and if it kills you, it fails in that. Most of them, there are some that, you know. A lot of diseases that are deadly to us were not deadly to cattle, where they originated, and they jumped species. The argument is, and some disagree with this, but the argument is Europeans had these animals that they used. They moved them into the seas with them, they caught a whole bunch of these terrible diseases that wiped out big populations, but they got over it. And in North and Central and South America, they did not have as many animals living in close proximity to humans in large population centers, and so the diseases did not pass to humans, and there were no big deadly diseases for the Europeans to catch when they came over.

    [says he got the term America Pox from CGP Grey, a Youtuber, who he likes watching and was clearly reading some of the same books]

    Boskone 54 ()
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    Questioner

    It was mentioned that there are 16 gods in your Cosmere.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on your definition of god.

    Questioner

    Shards. Are the ten orders of the Knight Radiants related to specific gods? Because Honor, child of Honor-Kaladin

    Brandon Sanderson

    So all the magic on Roshar, all the surgebinding on Roshar, is going to have its roots in Honor and Cultivation. Um... There is some Odium influence too, but that’s mostly voidbinding, which is the map in the back of the first book.

    Questioner

    I was wondering how much-

    Brandon Sanderson

    But, but even the powers, it’s, it’s really this sort of thing. What’s going in Stormlight is that people are accessing fundamental forces of creation and laws of the universe. They’re accessing them through the filter of Cultivation and Honor. So, that’s not to say, on another world you couldn’t have someone influence gravity. Honor doesn’t belong to gravity. But bonds, and how to deal with bonds, and things like this, is an Honor thing. So the way Honor accesses gravity is, you make a bond between yourself and either a thing or a direction or things like that and you go. So it’s filtered through Honor’s visual, and some of the magics lean more Honor and some them lean more Cultivation, as you can obviously see, in the way that they take place.

    Questioner

    The question kind of rooted because, Wyndle in the short story is always saying that he’s a cultivationspren, he doesn’t like [...]. I kind of got the idea that each order had a different Shard.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a good thing to think, but that is not how it is. Some of them self-identify more in certain ways. Syl is an honorspren, that’s what they call a honorspren, they self-identify as the closest to Honor. Is that true? Well, I don’t know. For instance, you might talk to different spren, who are like, no, highspren are like “We’re the ones most like Honor. We are the ones that keep oaths the best. Those honorspren will let their people break their oaths if they think it’s for a good cause. That’s not Honor-like.” There would be disagreement.

    Questioner

    Are you saying that the spren’s view of themself influences how they work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah, and humans’ view of them because spren are pieces of Investiture who have gained sapience, or sentience for the smaller spren, through human perception of those forces. For instance, whether or not Kaladin is keeping an oath is up to what Syl and Kaladin think is keeping that oath. It is not related to capital-T Truth, what is actually keeping the oath. Two windrunners can disagree on whether an oath has been kept or not.