If you could have one of your characters made as an android and unleashed upon the world, who would it be?
That's an interesting phrasing.
Lift. Unleash Lift upon the world, and see what she does.
If you could have one of your characters made as an android and unleashed upon the world, who would it be?
That's an interesting phrasing.
Lift. Unleash Lift upon the world, and see what she does.
If you had to choose a creature from Roshar to be your pet, what would it be?
It would be a larkin, obviously. This was the little beasty that was given to Rysn in the second book. They are very cool in that they feed on Investiture, and that turns out to be a really handy power to have. If you're not going to have magic of your own in the cosmere, then having the ability to eat other people's magic is really handy. Plus, they are the closest thing that I've had appear on-screen in a non-humanoid form to a dragon so far in the books. They're little lizard wasp dragons. Yeah, wasp-dragon, I would say, is what a larkin is. And that would be a really cool thing to have.
Which character had an easy concept, but was harder to translate onto paper?
Sazed was harder to translate to paper. I often go back to him, because his arc in the third Mistborn book is one of the hardest that I've ever writen. It took a lot of revision. And on paper, it was pretty easy. "Character gets depression, because everything he's believed in turns out to potentially be a sham." That is really hard to write. Turns out that a mental affliction that encourages you to not get out of bed, not do anything, and tries to push you to be inactive meshes really poorly with trying to write characters in a novel. Getting depression right can often be soul-crushing for the reader and really boring, which is quite a challenge, because we do want to get it right if we're going to include characters with depression. But, at the same time, a person who has trouble getting out of bed every day can wear on you to read. And it's one of those things where being realistic adds a whole host of challenges.
And my advice, if you are doing this, is to make sure that there is either some external force forcing them to keep going, or some sort of sense of progression, even if it's downward progression, that the reader can watch and feel a sense of motion to the character's arc.
How do you feel about fans naming their kids after your characters? My wife knows two people with kids named Kaladin?
I find it a mark of great respect and honor that people are naming kids after my characters. It also means that, maybe, some of my names aren't terrible. My very first book, Elantris, when I published it. Elantris was the book where I kind of went out there with my linguistics. And several of the reviewers noticed. They were like, "These names are just so hard to say and so weird. Sanderson needs to calm down on the naming!" So, when people name their kids after characters then I'm like, "Oh, good. At least they're not so weird that people won't name their kids after them."
It's really cool. I remember when I met my first Rand, my first Perrin, which both happened before I was working on The Wheel of Time. It's always been really cool to me. I like it. I like meeting Arwens. I wish that fantasy names were a little more frequent in our society. I think that they're very cool.
So, it's awesome. I will try to live up to the respect you have shown me by naming children after my characters.
Where did you research addiction, and what made you put a character into your books who was battling addiction?
So, this character that was battling addiction actually started, first appearance was in Mythwalker, which is the book that became Warbreaker. It was my ninth novel. (During those days, for those who don't know, I wrote thirteen before I sold one.) This character really stuck with me; it was me trying to do something that is very different from my own personal experience, looking to try to make a character sympathetic who struggles with something that a lot of people struggle with in our world. And one of my goals in putting characters like this into my books is to try to help humanize, because we all have these issues we deal with, and we all have different things to our psychology, and some of them can be pretty difficult to deal with. Some mental illness can just be a real kick to the head. And I see a lot of fiction that does a poor job of humanizing people like this.
And this was a character that, when I wrote him, I didn't know what I was doing, but the character really connected with me. And so, I put the character back in, I added them to the Stormlight Archive, and then I started to do my research. You can read, in the acknowledgements, some of the people that have been very helpful in me understanding addiction to the point that I hope I can get it right in the stories. But it is really important to me. There was something about writing this character that made me understand addiction, and people who were dealing with addiction, in a way I hadn't before. And that's something that I love about writing.
The other thing is, I didn't want magic to become a panacea, to get rid of hard things in people's lives. That's kind of important to me, because I think it can be very dangerous to write, "Well, the way to get over this sort of thing is just to get some magical powers!" (Which, of course, doesn't work in real life, in the real world.) And I don't want to not give people who deal with things like this the escapism that some of us will get my being able to read a book about someone who has a magical cure to an affliction they're dealing with. That is part of why they read, is this ability to escape from our problems into a world where the problems become different, and perhaps more surmountable. I acknowledge that what I'm doing does make that difficult, but I feel like the humanizing of people who are, maybe, not psychonormative or who deal with serious issues like addiction is more important to me.
And the writing felt right. At the end of the day, there's all these reasons that we can give for why I do things, that are intellectual reasons. But at the end of the day, it just feels right. The characters I'm writing feel like themselves, and that's who they are. And to not write them well would be a betrayal of trying to tell this character's story.
Why aren't there more pets in your worlds? Will we get more in future books?
One of the reasons there aren't more pets is because my main series is The Stormlight Archive, and there's just not room for both spren as companions and pets. They kind of lfill a similar roll. You can say, for the same reason, we don't have them in Elantris. And in Mistborn, we basically have OreSeur the wolfhound filling that role. And so, I kind of slotted into that role in the story these sapient companions to the main characters. And there're just too many things to juggle sometimes by adding too many (even characters that are obviously just pets) into stories.
Now, that doesn't mean I won't do it now and then, but that's the main reason you're not seeing as many. But, I mean, you could argue that the aviar are pets. But you could also argue that they're not, that they are these sapient companions, because aviar have more than animal intelligence. But, at least I've written a couple of stories with pet-like entities.
What changes, if any, would you like to see in the fantasy genre for this upcoming new decade?
I get asked questions like this on occasion, and I do have trouble answering, because if there are changes I want to see, I just kind of do them in my writing. And it's hard for me to feel that I should speak for an entire genre, particularly one so varied as fantasy.
I have been very interested by some of the trends that have been happening lately in fantasy. I think fantasy has gone some really interesting places, with different types of stories and different types of backgrounds leading to fantasy novels. I would certainly like to see that continue. It's been very good for the genre, I believe. But I don't have, really, any axes to grind about where the fantasy genre should go. Which is very different for me now than when I was young, trying to break in.
Maybe that simply comes down to the fact that right now, I am the establishment, rather than the person looking to buck the establishment. So, for someone like me, the fantasy genre seems like it's in a great place, because people are buying my books! But, when I was young... I don't want to say I was more self-righteous, but I think in my desire to see my style of fantasy do better, I was less willing to acknowledge that, as far as taste goes, it doesn't matter what you love in stories (within normal limits), as long as they are books that people are writing with passion and you're enjoying reading, right? So, when I was younger, I might have said, "There are too many Tolkien-esque fantasies being published!" Where now, I say, "Hey, people, they like Tolkien-esque fantasies. That's great! Everybody loves Tolkien!" What's wrong with fantasy being Tolkien-esque if people enjoy it?
So, I'm much less likely to try to say what fantasy should be, and just more enjoying the fact that I feel like we have, in fantasy, the single most interesting and diverse genre on the vast face of the planet. It is the genre where anything can happen, and your imagination is unlimited. And I love that about the genre, and I certainly would like to see that continue and to see where it goes.
Does the term Brightlord/Brightness have anything to do with eye color? Or is it related to the fact that money and artificial light are synonymous?
Yes. The problem here, answering this, does it have only to do with eye color? No, of course not. But eye color, and the fact that money glows, are both things that have been themes in Vorin culture for thousands of years now. And because of that, the two are very closely interlinked, it would be hard to pick which one is causing this and pull the other one out.
So, it is both. If you would an Alethi, they would probably say it has more to do with eye color. But culturally, the fact that money glows is just really deeply embedded into the way they think about light and the way they think about wealth and that sort of thing.
If you had to write a nonfiction book, what topic would it be about?
Writing. That is a bit of a softball.
I have considered it. One of the reasons I do things like Writing Excuses and my class is because they use different parts of my brain than writing does. If I sat down to write about writing, I could just be working on one of my stories, most likely, and I'm most likely going to just start doing that, because I'm behind on everything. So, a writing book is unlikely to happen. But if it did, it would be a writing book of me talking about motivation, and stuff like that, which I don't know if anyone wants to read, but I find very fascinating.
I've struggled with mental illness my whole life. Reading about your characters like Shallan, Kaladin, and Dalinar, that all have some degree of mental illness, start their path to recovery after forming a Nahel bond is very interesting to me. Is it a requirement for a Knight Radiant to be broken in some way prior to the bond? Where did you get this idea? Or was it just how it turned out?
There's a bunch of different answers to this, a variety of directions I can go. Part of it is, this is how it turned out. As I was developing the characters, I knew very early on, after the 2002 version didn't quite work, I knew what I wanted to do with Kaladin. And Shallan's character has always been a central feature of who she was, even before I came up with her modern version of the character. So there was a theme building there on its own. And when I notice a theme, I ask myself, "Is there a reason I'm looking at doing this? Why is it a theme?" And I realized this is something that was very interesting to me. I have several loved ones who have mental health issues that they deal with. It was something I didn't see done a lot in heroic or epic fantasy, and it felt very natural as a place to go. That the Knight Radiant bond is about making this bond with this spren and striving to become a better person.
It is not required in-world. A lot of people, even in-world, think that it is, because it was so common. My kind of external answer to that, even though they don't know this in-world, is that people who have struggled with these kinds of problems are more open to walking the path that one needs to walk to become a Knight Radiant. The two go hand-in-hand, the kind of self-awareness, and the ability to see yourself, to be reflective, just goes hand-in-hand with working on some of these issues. And at the same time, I felt it just worked really well with the themes of the story, the themes that Dalinar has of redemption. And also, I think that the extreme circumstances that a lot of characters put through stories like the ones I write do lead people to have some difficulties, right? Even PTSD, and things like that. There's just a lot that goes hand-in-hand together with this.
So the answer is, yes, it happened to be that way. But once I noticed it happened to be that way, I asked myself, "Is this a theme I'm doing on purpose, even if I haven't noticed it?" And the answer to that was, "Yes, it is."
Chapter 36: Hero
Dalinar thinking about Evi.
With that pale hair and light golden skin, she was like a glowing gemstone.
Now, maybe I am confused about Iri looks, but shouldn't it be other way around, pale skin and light golden hair?
Evi is Riran, so she has blonde hair rather than actual golden. The skin here is how we might describe someone in our world that way, rather than literal golden.
Are there any Dark Souls Easter eggs in any of your books?
I don't think I've put any Dark Souls Easter eggs in. Maybe I should at some point. I don't think I've intentionally -- I stay away from pop culture Easter eggs in the Cosmere books. I do do Easter eggs, but they're usually like people that are my friends and family and things like that. There's a bit of a fourth wall break that happens.
Not that I don't do it in some things. Like, the Krell are an Easter egg from Forbidden Planet. That word comes from that, which is one of my favorite old school sci-fi movies. So I do things like this all the time, but I don't go into it thinking, "I want to find an Easter egg to mention this!"
Even stuff like where Wayne is reading a book about talking bunnies, people are like, "Ooh! It's an Easter egg reference to Watership Down!" I don't really mean it to be that. I mean it to be that talking animal books are just a thing that happens in a lot of cultures, and I felt like it felt natural for this timeframe, there. It wasn't me even referencing -- I try to stay away from references to our world, but I do it on occasion, so it's a very valid question. And maybe there are some things I've done that I don't even remember doing.
Hypothetically, if Kelsier were to meet Kaladin, what would he say?
Probably "don't be so hard on yourself, kid." That would probably be what Kelsier says. He would do some version of "I've been there, don't be so hard on yourself. You can't fix it all." That's what my gut says.
Kelsier would really like Kaladin. He's the sort of person that Kelsier just... Kelsier loves to see and recognize the people who are just innately good and trying to do good. He's drawn to that because it's not something that is natural to him, if that makes any sense. He can recognize it, though. And it's one of those things that he kind of wants to preserve in the world. And he would really like Kaladin.
Would Kaladin like Kelsier?
Probably not. But Kelsier would probably be just fine with that.
Is it bad that I don't want to start reading stormlight until after you've finished it all. I hover over the buy button all the time, but can never bring myself to do it. Do you ever have the same problem reading a new series?
Yeah, I do--and I understand how you feel. As someone who spent years always waiting on the next book of the Wheel of Time, I certainly can't complain if you decide to wait.
My goal is for book five to come to a kind of "mid-series climax" wrapping up several of the main plot arcs, so you could read there. But there WILL be things after that book, still dangling, that I won't get to until the back five books. So I could see someone wanting to wait until they're all done.
Until then, there are plenty of finished series worth a read. Malazan book of the Fallen is done, for example, and is really well done.
For the back 5, is it gonna be the same structure as the originals? Example being, interludes, 3 primary POVs, Keteks, etc.
Mostly the same. Prologues should all be on the same day, but a different day from the first five. Will included flashbacks, in the same style, but will probably have more than three primary POVs. Not sure on Keteks yet.
When will the Wandersail ebook come out?
Ballpark is October. In a perfect world, here is my process:
Write it mid-July to mid-August. Beta read late August. Revisions early October. Copyedit done mid-October, to get to people a month before the new book.
That's my goal, at least. Things can always slide--and I'll try to be up-front about that, if it happens.
Note that I've been toying with a variety of different names. Wandersail might not be the best title, since that's the ship name--but it's not doing anything that has to do with the Wit story from book one. So I might call it something else, to prevent confusion.
Sorry to distract you from everything else to ask another question, but I think previously you said you may revise The Apocalypse Guard in July as well. Will that still be the case?
I just went through my schedule, and realized that with Stormlight 4 taking a week or so longer than planned (current turn in date is expected to be the 10th) I'd need to push back AG a little bit. I still hope to get to it before the end of the year, but timing is going to be tight in July with the kickstarter and the novella, so I want to keep my attention on those. I also need to do a quick draft of Death by Pizza, which is still coming along. (Though the co-author and I call it Songs of the Dead now.)
I literally 4 days ago found out about Songs of the Dead, and being a Heavy Metal fan, got so hyped.
One of our biggest challenges in the book so far has been to make it feel like it's sincerely about someone who is part of the culture (as my co-author is) without it turning into either a) sounding elitist or b) sounding like we're just Ready Player One style name-dropping a bunch of metal references. I think we're getting there, but there's a lot of nuance to writing something like this that is deeply entrenched in a specific sub-culture.
Please don't forget Wax and Wayne 4!
I won't. Goal is to start that January 1st, after Skyward 3. Then I'll do the fourth (and final) Skyward book, on target (hopefully) for Stormlight 5 the following January.
Can you give us a rough timeframe for the release of The Lost Metal?
Also, can you give us a little tiny piece of non important information from the book so we can something to hold on until the release?
Goal: Finish by one year from today. Release date: Following spring/summer.
Tidbit... Probably going to lead with a Wayne flashback, instead of a Wax flashback, in this one.
Herdazian food is very different [than Mexican food], there's just a few aspects that I used. The food, actually, I'm doing in Stormlight is more based off early 20th-century American street food, and the change to mobile cuisine. It's one of those fascinating things you can read about. And that's where the food like chouta is coming from, this idea of: as cultures intermix, and as Industrial Revolution stuff starts to happen, food starts to be portable. And I like that idea.
We know heist movies like Sneakers were inspiration for Mistborn. Are there other genres or specific movies/TV shows that inspire you, and that you would want to give a fantasy/sci-fi twist?
I've done most of the ones that I've thought of. I'm still waiting for the right place to do Count of Monte Cristo. I think that is a plot archetype that is not done quite as often, and can lend to some really interesting storytelling. So, you can be on the watch out for when I find a place to use that. I actually know exactly where it's going to go, but I'm not going to tell you. So, there's that one.
I've used the underdog sports team. I've used the "get the team together" Avengers style thing. There's just so many plot archetypes out there that I'm watching for. So, yeah, I'll just tell you that: watch for the Count of Monte Cristo style of story, because I have a really interesting take on it. And if you're looking for another example of this, obviously Skyward is based on the "boy gets dragon egg" story, but turned on its head to a different style.
What inspired Lopen?
A couple things inspired Lopen. The first, and kind of most important thing, that inspired Lopen, was: I knew Bridge Four needed more light. Like, it needed somebody who just refused to be beaten down at all. Because things were so dark in the Bridge Four sequences, I knew I needed to add in somebody who just had a different personality. And I developed Lopen around that idea. Lopen is the guy that's going to be shoved into Hell and be like, "Hey, guys, what's going on? Wow, it's kind of hot here, huh. Well, we'll deal with that!" Just refuses to let it get him down.
The Herdazians, in general, came from me wanting to reach to other cultures that aren't often seen in fantasy novels for some of my inspirations. So a few of the Herdazian inspirations come from Hispanic culture. I think that's probably pretty obvious. But just not something that you see a lot in epic fantasy, for whatever reason. If people are writing epic fantasy, and they're reaching for cultures to base things on, they are usually going to go to Europe or to Asia. You're going to see a lot of Japan and China. You're going to see a lot of Germany. You're gonna see a lot of classical Europe, Hellenistic, things like that. You'll occasionally see the Persians because of like, the accumulated Persian inspirations and things like that. Then we have a "Cyrus the Not So Great" earlier - that was the Persians, right? Yeah ... But you don't see Mexicans, right? You don't see South Americans. And there's a lot of really interesting things to go there.
Now, it strays into dangerous areas when you're just like, "I'm going to lift this culture wholesale" and plop it in you're book, which is dangerous because you risk, really, misrepresenting that culture, appropriating it, things like that. But I think where fantasy comes from is going and actually doing deep dives into Earth's history and looking for inspirations for cultures. And with the Herdazians, I spent a lot of time in that direction. Because I was already reading on some of that for Rithmatist.
I've you say in other interviews that the Stormlight Archives was your go at a big epic everything's-on-the-table fantasy series. But was there any particular series or religion or myths that inspired the story?
There's a whole bunch going on. You will find a whole lot of Eastern shamanism, like shinto or things like that, built around the idea of everything having a spren. That is one obvious influence.
Another one is Plato's theory of the Forms (from the Phaedrus, I believe it is), and this idea of different realms of existence directly became Realmatic theory, which is the Physical, Spiritual, and Cognitive of the books. He just had two; I ended up with three. But you can directly trace that to Plato.
A lot of the Alethi culture came from me wanting to build something based off of my research into the Mongol people, particularly during the time of Genghis Khan. But I took away the horses; you don't have cavalries on Roshar to the extent that you would on Earth. And I thought that was really interesting, because most people who base anything on the Mongols go with the whole horse lords things to the point that it's become a cliche. So I'm like, "What if I strip that away, and I'm forced to look at other nuances of their culture?" Particularly, I love the moment (trying to remember what the name of the dynasty was) where the Mongols conquered China, and then basically became a dynasty in China and became basically another Chinese government. The Chinese were used to this idea, that different people take over, the bureaucrats start serving them instead, and the big machine that is China keeps going with a new Dynasty in charge; now they're Mongols. That's really cool to me. And this idea of the Alethi as this famous infantry, this conquering infantry, that (also kind of you see this in Dalinar) have to, in some ways, settle down and rule an empire now that they have one. That's really cool to me, that's really interesting. And that's probably one of the most direct things you can point to Mongol culture for, is this idea. But also kind of, I feel like when people do a warrior culture in fantasy, too often 1) they all feel alike in some ways, and I didn't like that. I wanted to do where you were reading through the eyes of people who were from what I thought was a nuanced, realistic warrior culture. And you didn't realize until you were partway through the book, you were like, "This is a warrior culture! This is, like Klingons. These are the bad guys to a lot of people's eyes!" But it's more nuanced, it's not one note, and so you've got a lot of variety in the culture and a lot of people to it, and a lot of different opinions and perspectives that you may not even notice.
I love doing stuff like this. Like, Elantris is a zombie story. The original premise for Elantris is a zombie story. And I hope that a lot of people don't even realize that. Because I'm trying to strip away some of the trappings and use some of the core concepts. I like it when people get done with Elantris, and they're like, "Wait, zombie story? Oh, yeah!" And I like it when people are reading the Alethi, and they get to the end and they're like, "Oh, those are the Mongols? This is a warrior culture? I didn't even get that! I was through their eyes, and I didn't understand that these are the scourge that everyone else is afraid of, because I was seeing through their eyes and just seeing them as people." That's a greater sort of worldbuilding and storytelling philosophy that I have.
The highstorms came from tidal pools. A lot of the ecology on Roshar was, "Can I create something that looks like a tidal pool or a reef that's, like, a break for the waves, where things are crashing into it a lot." Just kind of building this idea around that.
There's a few of them for you. There are tons more. Stormlight Archive, it's hard to point out one idea for. In fact, it's really hard to point out one idea for the plot premise at all, because telling people what The Way of Kings is about is really hard. Mistborn's easy, right? This is why I think it would probably be wise, if we're going to do any media, is to start with Mistborn. Because we can pitch Mistborn. "Hero failed. Gang of these rob the Dark Lord." Easy pitch. What is Way of Kings about? "Uh... it's about this guy who's trained as a surgeon and he finds out he's really good at killing people and he goes to war but he doesn't actually get to fight, he gets put in the bridge crews, but it really about him building a team of friends among these people in this terrible situation... But it's actually about restoring lost Orders of Knights from long ago... But it's actually about an impending war that they were set up to fight, these Knights, that they told everyone that they'd won, but they really didn't win, but they kind of did..." It just gets really convoluted. It is hard to explain what The Way of Kings is about. This is why The Way of Kings has three prologues. (Don't do that, by the way. One prologue is bad enough; you don't need three. Unless you're writing Way of Kings. Then it was totally necessary.)
How do you research the physics elements of your books? How much would you say you later the laws of physics, and how much do you respect them?
Specifically wondering about Skyward?
I, these days, am able to cheat on this a little bit, because I know I have a really good support structure of people who have actually studied physics, rather than myself, where I have flirted with studying physics. I am not a scientist, but I love pop science, if that makes sense. I'm the person who loves to read a book about someone doing science, but when I was a chemistry major in college, the actual physical labor of running experiments was mind-numbingly boring to me. And so I like to know. I like to know what rules I'm breaking, and how to play with them. But these days, I'm really able to trust my basic pop science studies. So, I'm not going to go read seven textbooks on physics. What am I gonna do? I'm gonna go to YouTube and say, "All right. What does it actually look like for someone to pull X number of g's." And I will watch those videos. (There's actually some really good ones on YouTube about that, specifically.) I'm going to go read blog posts, because our internet is so great, from pilots talking about their experiences. That's what I'm looking for. I'm not looking for what the physicist says happens. I'm looking for: how does a pilot describe it, and how is it presented for a layman.
And then, I am going to do my best and find experts to read the book for me and tell me where I'm wrong. I often say that you can get yourself most of the where there in research as an author with a minimal amount of time. You just need to find an expert, who spent all the extra time that it takes to become a true expert, to read your book and tell you where you're wrong. Preferably, a couple of people, because it turns out people in any profession disagree with one another greatly on some points, and it's good to know which points those are.
So, that's literally what I did for Skyward. YouTube videos, firsthand accounts, and a couple of pop culture essays. Stuff that's only, like, two to five thousand words long, about what the experience feels like and why it's working like it's working. Followed by getting some physicists and some fighter pilots both to read my early draft and tell me what I was doing wrong.
How much do I try? Sanderson's Zeroeth Law says "always err on the side of what's awesome." What this means for me, realistically, is: I want to tell a good story. And telling a good story takes precedent over basically anything else. That means that I don't want to break laws for physics for no reason, and I want to know when I'm breaking laws of physics. But I am going to find a cheat that lets me tell the story the way I want to tell it, if there becomes a conflict. The most famous one for me of this is the redshift that would happen when you make time bubbles in Era 2 of Mistborn. When I was working on this and researching it and be like "what would actually happen," turns out that a lot of the research I was reading said that you would redshift the light, and you would really have a chance of irradiating everybody outside or inside the bubble, depending. And I just had to say, "You know what? I've gotta come up with a law in the magic system that fixes this and makes it not happen. Because otherwise, I just can't do the magic, right?" That was good for me to know, but it's also a place where I just decided to cheat. And we can, as fantasy authors, cheat.
We're studying King Lear in English, and I noticed that the character of The Fool is very much like Wit. I was wondering if you've ever read King Lear, and did you write Wit to be like him?
Yeah, Wit comes from The Fool from King Lear, and Twelfth Knight also has one. The jester character in Shakespeare is a direct inspiration for Wit. I love them. Particulary, the fool in Lear. Lear is one of my favorite stories, and even to this day, maybe The Fool... it might be Kent who says it, says "See better, Lear." That line is one of those succinct, beautiful, powerful lines that's burned into the back of my brain that I read way back when I was in high school, and I have since experienced King Lear. Usually, I like to go to Shakespeare, rather than read Shakespeare, for obvious reasons.
I would say, though, I was already writing Wit at the time, the fact that Robin Hobb did such a fantastic fool character in The Assassins books, that fool definitely had an influence on my as well. One of the things I always wanted to do with Wit was to make sure that he felt different from just another court jester, because I'm assuming I'm not the only one inspired by Shakespeare to create a character similar. And I spent a lot of time early in my career, in the unpublished days, saying "What's gonna make Wit, what's gonna make Hoid different from just another jester?" And I spent a lot of time on that. And when I publish, eventually, I'll let you guys read Dragonsteel. He reads way more like a Shakespearean fool in Dragonsteel than he eventually became in the later Cosmere books, once I was getting published.
You are known for being extremely meticulous in planning out the structure and details of your stories before writing. That being said, are there any times you have come up with a new idea or plot point as you are writing and just went with it?
Yeah, it happens all the time. I am, as I've come to learn, relatively detailed in my outlines compared to a lot of my contemporaries. (I am not the most detailed; I think that prize probably goes to Kevin J. Anderson. His outlines tend to be just basically the book, but shorter.) If you've seen me talk about my outlines, there are a lot of bullet points in there and goals; I don't know exactly what's gonna happen in each chapter, I'll know what I want to achieve in each chapter, which is a little bit different. I'll know, "these two characters need to interact, this information needs to come out, and this event happens to end the chapter." I'll know things like that. However, as I'm writing, as you're putting the book together, as you're getting in the zone and really getting to understand how the book is feeling and flowing, you start to change things, just from the first chapter. Not even it comes out exactly like planned most of the time. And this is just a part of the process.
Now, I am an outliner, which means that when one of these things happens, I will often go with it, but I'll also be revising my outline. I'll take a little bit of time to just go with it and see how it goes, often. But a lot of times, I'm already working on my outline. I'm already saying "oh, this is a much better idea, this is working way better." Trying to remember... from a first book, a time where that happened. Famously, Adolin wasn't a viewpoint character in the original draft of The Way of Kings, but that didn't happen during the drafting, that was during the revision process, so it's not quite what you're asking.
The personality that Doomslug ended up having in Skyward was not something I had planned out. I just kind of went with it as it came along as I was writing. A lot of the personalities of the side characters in Skyward are a good example of this. Like, even Jorgen's personality is quite different from what I had imagined in the outline. This happens a lot with characters for me that I'm writing, and who they are becoming is a much different person than who I maybe imagined them. Until I write through their eyes, I'm not 100% sure who they are. And this is the big thing that throws my outlines off. I know that my characters are going to grow to become different people than I imagined when I started, and the outline just has to adapt to that.
Unless it goes too far. Some of my fans who were watching back in the time, I added a character to Warbreaker just kind of on-the-fly as I was working on the beginning. And I really liked this character, they were great. So I'm like, "Wow, I want to bring this character on the adventure." And I wrote them into a couple of chapters, because they were just fun to write, and it just ruined the other chapters. The chapters no longer worked in the structure I was making, and it was a worse structure, and this character being along was taking away from the sense of isolation, which was a major theme for Siri in that book. And I was posting these chapters online as I wrote them for Warbreaker. I just eventually said, "This character is no longer coming on the adventure" and pretended they hadn't been there in the next chapter I posted. That happens sometimes, too, where you just decide to edit something down.
As I understand it, red is a sign of corruption in the cosmere. I just reread The Emperor's Soul, and it mentioned wisps of red smoke when Shai tests the Soulstamps. Does this mean she is corrupting Gaotona's soul?
Yes, that is what that means. Corruption doesn't have to have the negative connotation, right? Basically, it means an outside influence is changing the Spiritual nature of the soul. And, yeah, that's exactly what is happening right there. Now, I would call that a pretty good thing, but... like, all of those things, where she is playing with someone's soul, and changing it, and changing their past, and things like this. This is, by cosmere definition, corrupting someone's soul. That's expressly what it is.
Will we ever get anything from Wit’s point of view? Maybe an interlude?
Each book has an epilogue from Wit’s point of view. You will eventually get his backstory. That’s a three-book series that I’m planning after the Stormlight Archive narrative is done, so I’ve gotta keep moving! I actually think it would be fun some time to write a novel of him telling a story.
It's a Larkin [on the back of the Stormlight-themed playing cards]. It's based on a design we worked up for the icon in the book and on the cover of the novella, but I worked out the anatomy the same as I do for all the other critters. Bear in mind, any artwork you're seeing at this time remains subject to change.
It's sorta like a wasp, but the wing profile and the flight dynamics (such as they be) are more like that of a hummingbird.
So, the goal is to write the [Kickstarter] Novella in July, and have it ready to print soon after--but printing can take six months in the current environment. So while I could see (hopefully) people being able to read the novella as early as October in digital form (we'll send it out as soon as it is ready) I worry that the physical version won't be ready until early next year.
I can't say 100% when the other goodies will be ready, but I have a suspicion that the novella hardcover will take the longest. For all the others, we just have to know how many to order and have the kickstarter money in hand to order them all. For the novella, we have to wait for me to write it, edit it, and then have it shipped from the printer.
But if all you're worried about is me finishing the novella sometime this year, you should be fine. I bet the first draft is done by August. You can follow along while the kickstarter is happening, as I'll post updates.
Are shardblades uniform metal, or do they have different colors on the handle/hilt or whatever? Could you paint a shardblade and have it retain the paint when disappearing/reappearing?
A Blade won't retain ornaments when dismissed, I'm afraid, including coloration. HOWEVER, they could be made to change colors when alive, and even their texture. So many Blades in the world have multiple tones, and the grip tends to be of a different texture. They're uniform metal, but don't always feel/look like it.
In the hotel scene [in Bands of Mourning] there is mention of possible danger of a cattle stampede through the lobby as an outside possibility. Any chance this is a reference to blazing saddles and the mention of "stampeding cattle through the Vatican"?
I love Blazing Saddles and Brooks in general, but that was not an intentional reference.
If atium is a metal that is relevant throughout the Cosmere, which seems to be the case from your comment, then it could have special properties that go beyond its use in allomancy, so that this metal that is relevant to everything doesn't only feel useful in Mistborn.
I'd be interested to know, for instance, if it's at all useful in the forging of weapons or whatever. Anyway I dunno I'm just a very early reader and I'm already trying to give the author ideas, but from my perspective I don't see why atium not being used by all allomancers is a big problem. The usefulness of atium could go way beyond allomancy perhaps.
It does! And yes, atium weapons would be very useful (even atium alloy) for doing things like resisting Shardblades. So there is quite a bit of application.
The Original (audio book) release date, and an unexpected new story!!!
The Original. Author(s): Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal. Released: Sep 14, 2020
Stephen Leeds: Death & Faxes. Author(s): Brandon Sanderson. Released: Sep 01, 2021
They are official. We're trying some new things.
The Original, which I wrote with Mary Robinette, was a true collaboration. I pitched an idea and an outline, Mary Robinette did the first draft, I did a pass myself, then she did the final touches. It turned out great.
With Legion, I' wanted to try something different. I've got a partner in Hollywood, and since I've had so much trouble getting a Stephen Leeds television show made, I figured we'd try it as an audiobook series. Basically, we got a writer's room, brainstormed some ideas, and are treating this like a pilot to a "television show" but only audiobook.
This means I'll be overseeing the project like a show runner, but won't be writing the individual "episodes." We're only doing this first one as a try-out to see what fans think of this process.
Does that mean the Legion audio is a reboot or sorts or is it still a continuation from the books?
More a continuation, not really a reboot, but not happening after the third novella. More like, "From the case files of" sort of thing.
What about the two "Dark One" titles: Dark One: Prophetic Histories and Dark One: Forgotten?
These are just in the concept stage, but we're getting closer to making them. Dark One is being made into a television show, but I don't have a lot of power over how/when that will happen--so we are doing the graphic novel. Separately from that, we're going to do a couple of audio dramas. One will take my outline and make it into a novel. The other is this wacky idea I had for a "Serial" style podcast, with a journalist tracking a killer, which ties into all of this. Forgotten is that.
It's a good call in the abstract but the choice of character to genderswap is not great. Docks, sure, but I'd rather have Ham stay male (and, superficially, stereotypical), and swap any/all of Clubs, Marsh, and Yeden instead.
I understand this complaint, though you might want to look at the post I made just before this one in another thread.
Nothing is set in stone, but we need to imagine the Mistborn film as an alternate version of the cosmere, hopefully as close in heart as the MCU to the comics--but distant in some specific choices. In this case, Ham is working really well changed. Remember, you're only going to have a few comments from him/her in the film. The real place to get to know the character will be in the television show that goes between movies one and three (assuming this plan actually plays out--which it might not.)
If a TV show is successful, then it gets renewed. If Books 1 & 3 are already planned to be movies, what do you do with the TV series when, hopefully the show being a big hit, the network renews it for further seasons? Is there additional plot to be explored between books 2 and 3 somehow? Or did I misunderstand what you were talking about entirely?
So, there is a lot of buzz in Hollywood right now about integrated television and film properties. Further seasons, if this all works, would be Secret History blending into the time between Eras one and Two.
So, one thing I think I did wrong in the books was not having more allomancer guards and soldiers who were women. I don't think our same gender norms would be the case on Scadrial.
One of the [screenplay] revisions is this: Shan is no longer Elend's fiance, but his sister. Their father has left on business to the outer domninances, and so Shan is making a play to secure the heirship, trying to prove she is more bold and strong than her brother. This is what gives the team an opening, and why they're striking now with the heist, as in this version, House Venture maintains the city policing and has access to the atium stash.
The plan is to put a few Allomancers (including Ham) into the Venture house guard, and exploit Shan's desire to prove herself by creating chaos in the city that she'll think she needs to put down with decisive action. That will involve her pulling out the atium stash, which will in turn let the team know where to go to rob them.
It streamlines the book's story in some elegant ways to do this. Shan becomes the primary "mark" of the book, in many ways. It also lets me explain a little more succinctly what various members of the crew are doing in the background while we focus on Vin, who is to get close to Shan as a confidant--which is why she's sent to the parties. And why Shan being a brat to her isn't just annoying, it means a major part of the plan isn't yet in place.
It explains way better, in my opinion, why Shan would act against Elend. It's all clicking into place as I move pieces around. That said, I understand those who want a Television show. I could see going that way, perhaps.
Trouble is, nobody in streaming needs a big fantasy property. Anywhere I go right now, I'd be in a distant second or third place to Tolkien, WoT, Witcher, or Kingkiller. The offers I've gotten have been for a fraction of the budget of those shows--since everyone has already spent big money on their big fantasy show, and isn't really interested in another.
I'm confident feature is the place I want Mistborn; but even if I weren't, I'm not thrilled by the idea of being lost on Netflix as their "other" fantasy show.
I don't know if I'm being negative, but these changes really worry and disappoint me. I really like Era 1 as it is, and all this change in the dynamics of society and the plot as too drastic.
This isn't negative; I understand this response, and think it's valid.
At the same time, I'm of the personal philosophy that a film should generally be a different beast than a book--a book can lean into the little intricacies of a story, while a film should be a bold but unified statement.
Nothing will happen to the books; those will remain the same. But if I want this film to work as a film, I believe I need to be willing to re-imagine parts of the story.
With Elend having a sister does that mean you don’t need the Zane plot anymore?
That's from the second book--so it would be in the television show, and we'd likely still do it.
prove she is more bold and strong than her brother
Which brother?It certainly could not be Elend, right? Elend had no Allomancy powers (before he ate the lerasium in WoA), so Straff despised Elend and thought him too weak.And Zane was a bastard and also mad dog.If Shan was Straff's legitimate daughter, then her succession was already 100% secure. She wouldn't need to prove anything to anybody.
It will be Elend, but it's more that this is the first time that Shan gets to be on her own, leading by herself, and wants to show off for the Lord Ruler. Also, there's the question of whether the male heir--though inferior in this case--might get the nod for sexism reasons. I think it's going to work just fine, but I'll admit, it's getting a little rough to discuss all these details on a thread like this--I can't answer everyone's questions, I'm afraid. I just wanted to indicate the kinds of changes I'm looking at making.
Whatever I do will go through my standard "show it to tons of beta readers and get feedback" process, so I should be able to catch problems and fix them.
The bit about atium is a bit confusing. The Ventures are going to have the Atium stash? Not the stash that we don’t find until the end I’m assuming? So it’ll be a stash but much smaller than expected?
So, I'm not sure I can explain it all in this, but one big change I wished I'd made from the start of Mistborn is making atium usable by all Allomancers. As I've gotten further in the cosmere, using a god metal as just for Mistborn has felt off.
So the lore change for the films will mean any Allomancer can use atium. This, in turn, lets House Venture have access to the LR's atium as a "Control the city" last resort. They keep a task force of allomancers for this purpose--which Ham can join, in anticipation of being able to steal it once Shan accesses it. (They don't know that House Venture is only given about a hundred beads of atium, not access to the full mythical cache, which will be reserved for the third movie.)
Makes the worldbuilding and storytelling more elegant, I've found, in the film. And it fits better with more "modern" cosmere fundamentals as have developed over the last decade. I think I'd make this change even if we moved to a television show and long form.
The Lord Ruler is still the "big bad" but Shan and the Inquisitors both get a little more screen time. (Actually, about the same as in the books--it's just that other parts are being trimmed, making them more front-and-center.)
Based on that, you're also streamlining away the Sign of Sixteen if it gets a sequel? To be honest, that didn't really work for me in the novel anyway.
It's one of my least favorite parts of the trilogy. It (along with Vin drawing upon the mists in book one) are big changes I'm hoping to make to fix weaker sections of the continuity.
Is this [wordplay] a happy accident? [Bridge Four, Life B4 Death.] Cause if not, that's pretty clever.
Stormfather once said that "Three of sixteen ruled but now the Broken One reigns" and that "Odium reigns", is not crazy to think that Odium is the Broken One. My question is, could be possible to fuse Odium's shard (without Rayse) with the remanents of Honor (his Cognitive Shadow) in order to create a new whole Shard? Could Dalinar do something like that? He would be uniting them (two Shards, one of them supposed to be the Broken One and the other that we actually now is a bit broken).
[That] is possible
I suspect Sanderson actually created Wayne as a riff on Mat [Cauthon].
Wayne is almost certainly Mat influenced. It wasn't deliberate on my part, but the influence is certainly there.
I'm pretty sure that /u/mistborn worked with brotherwise on this game [Call to Adventure: Stormlight Archive], and probably had some say in the artwork.
Hopefully he sees this, and takes a moment to respond, I really wonder if this just flew under the radar, or if there's a reason that Rock has a different skin color than the rest of his peak.
They worked with my team--but I personally didn't have time to oversee all of the art.
Getting a lot of the characters' skin tones has been a challenge, as I'm often vague in the books. Rock is a good example; Shallan gets her paler skin and hair from the Horneaters, so a lot of people assume the Horneaters are Irish-looking, though I've intended them to be a variety of skin tones. So while it's not inappropriate to draw Horneaters light skinned (and a lot of fanart does) I intended Rock to have a bronzer tan skin.
The thing is, it doesn't quite look Alethi either, so they'll describe him through their eyes as looking "tan." It's a skin tone they don't really have, though, so there are passages an artist could look at and assume, "Oh, this guy is white, like Szeth" because of my descriptions, which are at times less specific than I should have made them.
So yes, failing on our part, but don't blame the artist--I'm sure there are places in the books that they drew on to get this description.
Would you say Rock's skin is closer to a Native American, or would it be lighter, like a Pacific Islander?
My internal depiction has always placed him closer to native american skin tone.
I envision native American. Where the Alethi tend to run the range between someone who would look Asian to us (though the Vedens are more that skin tone) all the way through to Indian (actual Indians) skin tones. They'd look at Rock and say, "That's a tan" or "that's bronze." It's obviously not Alethi, but the words "light" and "dark" don't really work for the descriptions the way I want--in fact, a lot of the ways in literature we've talked about skin tones through history has been...well, pretty racist. It's sometimes a challenge to navigate this, my own biases, and the problems that come when working with a culture, like the Alethi, who are also pretty racist.
Rock actually sputtered, an amusing mixture of indignation and incredulity, bringing a red cast to his light Horneater skin.
Though this sentence from Words of Radiance chapter 46 is what used to make me think Rock has lighter skin and it's from Kaladin's PoV. So it doesn't necessarily mean he actually has skin color close to pale/fair one, but just a bit lighter than Kaladin himself (or normal Alethi)'s tan color?
P.S. Sort of a fanart question: Do Rock's family members all have bronzer tan skin?
Yeah, that's one of the ones. So I try to walk a line with Rock, where he doesn't have an Alethi skin tone, but a Horneater one--which is why I blame myself for the interpretations here. I haven't been the most clear.
Oh, and for your P.S. Yes, they should. I imagine them bronzer than him.
I wonder what order u/mistborn is [on the Knights Radiant quiz].
I got Elsecaller on this test, with Bondsmith close behind. Which are the two where I'd have placed myself, so I think they did a good job on it.
Without spoilers, what can readers look forward to? [In Rhythm of War]
There is a character moment that was one of the pillars of my outline from the very beginning. This scene that I was working on. There were only two or three scenes that were core pillars. My beta readers feel like it landed. There won’t be a moment like this again until Book 7 or 8.
It’s been a dream of ours here at Dragonsteel to get to work with Donato on a piece of epic fantasy art depicting a scene or character from one of Brandon’s books. We were admirers of Donato’s work even before he created the illustration for “Firstborn” on Tor.com, and wow, did he create something beautiful there. So when Brandon came to me with the idea of paintings of all ten Heralds from the Stormlight Archive, the first person that came to both of our minds was Donato.
And again, Donato has knocked this one out of the park. His rendition of Taln (Talenelat’Elin) is gorgeous. It strikes the right balance between realism and symbolism, and gives us a heroic, yet tormented, version of this beloved Herald. We love what Donato has done!
We have several paintings of the Heralds in the works, so this one is likely to appear on the end pages of this book or the next, depending on which Heralds we feel look good together and best represent the themes of the books.
The time has come! Though I’ve had an instinct for many months that the title of Book Four would be Rhythm of War, I had to make certain it fit into the last chapters of the book as I wrote them.
Indeed it does, and I feel comfortable announcing this at long last as the official title of the book. Like previous titles in this series (The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and Oathbringer) this one is taken from the title of an in-world volume of text. To tell you more would, of course, be a spoiler. Let’s just say that this is the first of one of these in-world books that has involved the writings of someone who is not human.
I’m hard at work on revisions, and am excited for the end of the year—when I can finally share Rhythm of War with you all!
They want to know who your favorite character of Brandon's is.
Oh, favorite character of Brandon's.
No, I really like Lift. I'm enjoying Jasnah quite a bit.
Yeah, you don't get a lot of Jasnah in these early books though, unfortunately. There's a couple Jasnah viewpoints in the new book [Stormlight 4], so that's good. You'll get a little Jasnah, but you really aren't going to get a lot of Jasnah for a while.
I kind of think... It's hard because it's like whichever one I happen to be reading at the time is my favorite.
That's what Robert Jordan said, when someone asked him who his favorite character was, is, "Whoever I'm writing right now."
It's kind of true though. Whoever I'm reading right now, I'm like, "Oh, I love this character." I read a Kaladin chapter and I'm like, "I love Kaladin." Then I read a Dalinar chapter.
Did you say who your least favorite character was?
My least favorite character? Can I choose Padan Fain?
Padan Fain, Padan Fain.
He's not technically one of your characters.
He's very hateable. He's pretty despicable.
Moash is pretty despicable, but I don't know that he's my least favorite.
In the last SoS, Brandon mentioned that a new Audible original called "The Original" was coming out soon that he wrote with Mary Robinette Kowal. I haven't seen any news of it in the last six months. Does anyone know anything about it?
The publisher decided they wanted it to come out later this year, rather than earlier. I'm still a little baffled as to why. I think they're looking at August right now?
Audio original, though it's not published by Audible. (I think it should be still available there; I just did it with a different company, one I've worked with before. For the record, the only ones Audible has published directly are the Reckoners and Skyward.)
This one isn't full cast, but does have some audio mixing and the like, with a little original music.
We know for previous WoBs that Truthwatchers are worried about knowledge and helping people with it (wob#8500). In the test you recently released, the new info about them says that they are worried about the use of the knowledge and the leaders trying to deceive the people they lead. So, I think they have some things in common with Windrunners and Edgedancers, because the three Orders are more worried about the common people than about the elite. Protecting those who can not protect themselves, remembering those who had been forgotten; both of this Second Ideals refers to the common people, that people that the leaders don't really care about.
Considering all of this, and following the example of the Second Ideal of Windrunners and Edgedancers, which are the most worried about the common people with no epic powers, I wrote a theoric PURE (without corrupted sprens like Glysn) Second Ideal for Truthwatchers:
"I will seek truth, to prevent others from being deceived."
I know you are RAFO'ing this, but I would only like to know if my approach of the Truthwatchers Order is correct.
[That] is, I'm afraid, a RAFO as I don't want to talk too much about the oaths of given orders until I write books about those orders, as it would constrain the story a little too much. Your theorizing is sound, however.
(To Emily Sanderson) Which of Brandon's books did you like least or were the biggest critic of?
Oh boy! Which one would that be? Which one didn't you like?
I wasn't super fond of Snapshot honestly.
Snapshot is a little brutal for Emily.
Yeah, its a bit much.
Yeah, I could have guessed that.
Some of the fight scenes in Mistborn are too violent for me too.
You didn't particularly like Dreamer did you? *Emily hmmms* You were okay with Dreamer?
I was okay with Dreamer. Perfect State was kind-of...not my favorite. A lot of people have a hard time with Alcatraz and I love Alcatraz. It's kind of a love it or hate it. I'm in the love it camp for sure.
Emily, what is your personal favorite of Brandon's books?
That's hard. I kind-of have a special place in my heart for Warbreaker because Brandon started writing that after we meet and was writing it after we meet and he was writing it while we were dating, engaged, and first married-
And on our honeymoon.
*laughs* Yes. *laughs* I was reading a book while he was writing a book.
Partly too because he was doing the experiment of putting it online as he wrote it, he would send it to me to make sure there weren't any huge, horrible, glaring errors and I would read through it. For the first time I was getting Brandon books right after he had written them, and that was really fascinating. It was really fun to see that this conversation these characters were having was inspired by a conversation that we had last week. Or this is the kind-of thing we've talked about. That was really fun. So [Warbreaker] has a special place in my heart for that reason.
I think honestly that my favorite book is the last one that has come out. I read Way of Kings and was like "This is amazing! How can you possibly do better then this?" and then I read the next one as was like "He did! This is amazing too!" I do really love Stormlight Archive.
But you have to read them when they are bad, the first time through.
That is true. Maybe that's why I think they are so amazing. I read them when they are bad then I read them again when they are all cleaned up...
We're in the middle of Stormlight 4 right now, in writing group. It's bad, it's got so many problems. There not huge fundamental problems, but there are big problems.
I'm working on a food article about Roshar, so a few questions. Lavis equals corn?
Yeah, ish. That would be a nice *indistinguishable*
Is one of the other grains like buckwheat, do they have bananas or similar-tasting fruit, and what is the Earth equivalent of the most popular vegetable in Alethi cuisine?
Probably a sweet potato, though I hate them, would be the closest thing to the tuber that they use. There is a somewhat buckwheat-ish grain, but most -- like the Thaylen bread that they talk about and stuff, you've got to be getting wheat in from Shinovar. But yes, they have a grain that's slightly more of the consistency, so if you saw it or if you ate something from it you would be like this is some weird form of wheat. They're forming the flatbreads out of it. I would have to go to my notes and find out which one it is. I know I've mentioned it in the books before. If I didn't end up mentioning it I got it in the wiki, so you can drop us an email and I can pull it out of the wiki for you.
I was also hoping they have garlic.
They have things similar enough to garlic that you could just use garlic.
Is their anything you can share about your books and TV/Movies?
Not a lot. There's just not really any motion; I wish there were.
I'm excited for Dark One with Joe Straczynski, he just makes really good television. But really there's nothing more to announce than that. It was really fun to go to Hollywood and pitch with Joe. If you don't know Joe Straczynski, he was the show-runner on Babylon 5 and the creator of it. He's also done a bunch of other stuff like Sense8 and he has written a lot of comics and stuff like that. He is really just a fascinating guy. There is not really any motion on that.
We were really close on Snapshot and then I haven't heard anything from them for a while. We have new deals in the works for both Alcatraz and Skyward, though I can't announce those yet because I don't think they have been officially done. But at least there are deals in the works for both of those.
You can go and read my big huge spiel about movies [in] last year's State of Sanderson, or two years ago or a year ago but for two years ago where I talk about it. Nothing has made any progress lately. This is why in this year's State of Sanderson I basically said I'm to the point where I'm realizing if I really want to do anything I probably have to do it myself. I may have to just sit down and write screenplays and go find directors myself and see if that works, but historically that's very hard to do and I am not an experienced screenwriter, I have written one screenplay in my life and it was kind-of bad. So who knows? I'm moving into the stage where I am starting my own production company and I am taking the rights and leaving them in the production company rather than selling them off with the hope that whoever buys them will make it because so far no one has done any of that.
I hear Witcher is great, I haven't watched it yet. It's a really good sign that there is good a fantasy show out that is not Game of Thrones, because everyone thought, well this could only happen once. But if it is proven by [Witcher] and hopefully by Wheel of Time, when it is ready, hopefully those will prove that fantasy is viable not just as Game of Thrones which will help the rest of us get a bunch of stuff done. So thumbs up to Henry Cavill for really pushing for the Witcher to get done and doing it right. If the rest of this all takes off we will really owe a whole bunch to him pushing to get that Witcher show made.
Were did Lift come from?
One of the things I did when I was developing the Knights Radiant, was that I knew I wanted the Knights Radiant to come from variety of walks of life and a variety of ages. This was especially important because I knew my some of my central characters were going to be around the same age and come from various similar cultures. So I knew when I was developing them I was going to need someone like Lift. I wanted a tween who became a Knight Radiant. That was the thing, who's going to be my tween, whose going to be the older, the person in their 60's or 70's who becomes a Knight Radiant.
Earlier you have stated that Spensa's story in Skyward was inspired by the 'boy and his dragon' stories that you read in your teens. Is Rysn and Chiri-Chiri's story in Stormlight 4 based upon this plot archetype as well?
Yes. But only in small, minor ways.
Getting the gift of a strange and unusually pet is one of those things ever since I read Dragons Blood by Jane Yolen, ever since I read The White Dragon and Jackson getting his dragon. There is something in me that loves this sort of fantastical pet - I mean own a macaw. [As far as] pets that are responsible to have go, excluding things like getting a lion, it's one of the weirdest things you can get as a pet. And that's going back to that love of dragon stories. That's why I bought <Cock>, my love bird, that was my buddy all through high school, it was because a flying, talking, little creature just feels so fantasy to me. So yeah, definitely Chiri-Chiri is playing into that trope to an extent.
What has been your favorite trope to subvert?
It's got to be the one that did Mistborn right, the- no, you know what, oh I can't say it.
I like subverting my own tropes the best. Finding something that I've been leaning on and recognizing it for what a good thing [it has been] in my books in the past, understand that readers are going to expect me to do it more, then subverting it is really fun for me. There is a moment like this at the ending of Oathbringer, that I won't mention because it is a spoiler, where something that has happened in the previous two books does not happen in this book. That is intentional, when I was building the outline for the series, I'm like "hey, I'm leaning on this idea a lot." It is a central theme of the [Stormlight Archive], so its okay, but I need to subvert it a couple times, otherwise it will get stale.
But if there is one I can talk about it is subverting the Hero's Journey in ways that are still satisfying. It's easy to subvert a trope and make it unsatisfying; most tropes work because they are satisfying to [an] extent. So the subversion [of the Hero's Journey trope] has to be still satisfying in its own way, and that can get tricky.