Which of your worlds, if any at all, have ice cream, or at least, the ability to make ice cream?
Scadrial probably has it already. Roshar is farthest, not having as much in the way of milk products.
Which of your worlds, if any at all, have ice cream, or at least, the ability to make ice cream?
Scadrial probably has it already. Roshar is farthest, not having as much in the way of milk products.
Of the 7 remaining Stormlight Archive books (or 3 in the sub-series), which one are you most looking forward to writing?
Did the Davar Soulcaster ever work?
Yes, it did. (Good question.)
Out of all the books you've written which do you think is the best?
Well, Emperor's Soul is the one that won a Hugo, which gives it some objective credibility for being the best. [A Memory of Light] was the hardest by a long shot, and in some ways the most satisfying, but I'm perhaps most proud of The Way of Kings. So one of those three, likely.
Why do you so often include some sort of religious government in so many of your worlds? Is it something that comes from looking at how history developed on Earth, or do you think your religious faith influences the way you write/worldbuild?
There are a lot of reasons. One is because it happened that way so often in our world. Another is my fascination with religion, and wanting to explore what people do with it. The biggest one, however, is related to how I worldbuild. I like things to be very interconnected, as I think that's how real life is. So, when I build a religion, I ask myself what its political ties are, as well as its relationship with things like the magic, economics, and gender roles of the culture.
I'm blown away by all the different types of people you portray in The Stormlight Archive (different cultures, social classes, genders, varying levels of...morality). What kinds of things help you create such diverse casts of characters? I'm imagining that you have a secret encyclopedia somewhere that helps you keep all your cultures and customs straight!
I do, actually, have a secret encyclopedia. It's a wiki on my computer, filled with information. That helps me keep things straight. However, specific inspirations are often in the people I meet. I do spend a fair amount of time looking through the internet for blogs/forums populated by people who think very differently from myself. This helps me create realistic portrayals.
How do you feel on being read and worshiped as one of the best writers in the world by people that doesn't even speak English?
Humbled, honestly. I don't know if "worshiped" is the right term, and I would hope that most people are focused on the stories, rather than on me. They're what matter. That said, it has been incredible to see the reception my work has received.
Both Parshendi and Horneaters are able to see spren, ordinary humans can't. Is there a connection between these abilities, or do they come from completely different sources?
Horneaters are human/Parshendi hybrids. (There are several Roshar races that have Parshendi blood in them.)
The fantasy universe is very fond of antiheroes lately, so I was surprised when I read your books with charismatic and inspiring lead characters, who, almost single-handedly, give faith to people and make them claim back their dignity. What is so compelling about creating characters such as Kaladin or Kelsier?
I find that the antihero angle is very well covered by other authors. I am fascinated by people who are trying to do what is right because most everyone I know is actually a good person--and a good person needing being forced to make unpleasant decisions is more interesting to me. The great books I read as a youth inspired me; I'd rather dwell on that kind of story than the opposite. (That said, it's great that the genre is big enough for both types of stories.)
It IS interesting to me that over the last twenty years, what I do has become the distinctive one.
When Kaladin helped Adolin fight in the arena, did Elhokar notice him Surgebinding?
Is there any chance we will have a deeper backstory for Bridge 4 members? Maybe an anthology or something with short stories that detail backstory for Rock, Lopen, etc? That would be amazing!
I do intend to dig into some of them a little. (Rock, for example, is currently plotted to have a viewpoint sequence in a later book.)
Do you think that there will ever be a movie trilogy or tv series of The Stormlight Archive like they have done with Game of Thrones and Harry Potter?
Boy, I'd love it if there were. I will work to make it happen, though with Stormlight I probably won't be optioning the books for film until a few more are out. I don't have a lot of power over what Hollywood decides to do, though.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to write an epic fantasy novel for the first time?
Turn off the internal editor. Write with passion, and don't spend a lot of time on revision. You will grow so quickly as a writer during your first book that you want to power through it, learn a lot about the process, THEN do your revisions. Otherwise, you might end up stuck in an endless loop of revising the first few chapters.
Also, don't spend so long planning that you don't get around to writing. The goal is to train yourself to learn how to write—and you only do that by actually writing.
If you had to pick any one of your characters to be your new best friend (besides your wife) for the rest of your life, who would would it be and what do you imagine would be your weekend "Let's hang out, but I don't want to plan anything, so let's do the 'usual'" ritual?
I think I'd dig hanging out with Sazed. The usual would be, "tell me about a religion you've studied."
I always wondered. You say you produce clean drafts, and you apparently produce stories quickly (relatively to a lot of people I've met.), how do you keep cranking it away? What is the motivation to keep creating? (I think this might be the key to why some many people start and never finish projects. ??)
I'm not actually a fast writer, hour by hour, but I am very consistent. I enjoy writing, but I will admit, some days it is hard. What keeps me going? This has changed over the years. At first, it was a desire to prove myself, and to make a living doing this thing I love. Eventually, it has transitioned into a feeling of obligation to the readers mixed with a desire to see these stories in my head told.
So each anti-investiture is like its world's investiture, but can't be effected by it. So aluminum can't be affected and destroys Allomancy, ralkalest can't be Soulstamped, Shardblades are blunted by that one thing. Is the black filled sphere that Galivar gives to Szeth the anti-investiture to Stormlight?
When I asked this, he became much more tight-lipped and said that was an interesting theory and that I would learn more in book three.
Can aluminum be used to destroy a Feruchemist's metalmind if the person burning aluminum were to cut his hand and place it on the metalmind?
He said that cutting the hand would probably not be enough, but that I was on the right track.
When Kelsier is teaching Vin about the basic eight Allomantic Metals, he talks about not flaring metals, especially tin and pewter, as it does strange things to people. Does this imply that there were other savants before Spook?
His answer was that there were other savants before Spook.
In the flashback [of Words of Radiance] with Shallan meeting Hoid, Hoid pours something from a pouch into his cup and drinks it. Are these Allomantic metal shavings?
His answer was that there was something indeed significant about what Hoid placed in the cup, but that it was not necessarily Allomantic shavings. He wouldn't tell me what it specifically was and gave me a R.A.F.O. card.
At the Yomen wedding [in The Alloy of Law], the newlyweds are talking to "a scruffy man who looked like a beggar, dressed all in black". Is this an appearance of Hoid?
His answer was that yes, in fact, it was.
What about the three individuals we know to have traveled to and from Sel? Did they use the Shadesmar [the Cognitive Realm] anyway, or have they accessed an alternate method of worldhopping?
I'm going to have to answer that with a yes as well.
I asked if knowing the positions/orbits of the moons would be enough to predict the [highstorms].
He said not enough. You need the historical records of storms as well because there is a pattern. You need that pattern and the tides, to correctly predict the timing of the storms. He said it was more than a simple beat.
I then turned back and asked, "Are you saying the highstorms are music?"
He replied, "I didn't say they were music. You said that."
Since Shallan has a unique ability of memory from her blended surges, is fighting what Kaladin has?
No. His unique ability is "strength of squires".
What is Renarin's eye color?
PAFO - Peter and find out. He gets to canonize it.
Does the plague on the Purelake has anything to do with the fact that the magic fish form symbiotic bonds with spren?
No, worldhoppers brought a disease to Roshar that they didn't have before. It's the common cold. Rosharans' Investiture makes it so they're usually a healthy bunch so something like the cold is kind of frightening. "It's a plague of the sniffles."
Another person asked about the plague in the Purelake.
Turns out, that was a pathogen introduced by worldhoppers. People on Roshar normally have greater health than elsewhere in the cosmere because they are more Invested (Stormlight and all that). This plague was what we call… the common cold.
How do you come up with names?
He takes a culture then breaks down the linguistics of it and its kind of complicated but he uses the rules from one language, then breaks them and makes his own?
What was your inspiration for Grandpa Smedry?
[Brandon's] mother, who was always late to things. [Brandon]'s the inspiration for Alcatraz *he held up his broken phone to us*.
Are Mat's [from The Wheel of Time] memories from the past his own or other people's?
He was asked a question about creating Steelheart and it boiled down to being unique with names and powers is hard, he had a hard time finding things that Marvel and DC haven't done already.
Sabriel was his inspiration for unique rule based magic systems.
You say you put limits on magic to make it interesting, do you do the same to characters?
Yes! A lot of characterization comes from conflict in what the characters can't do.
Favorite thing Hoid's done?
RAFO, sorta. A lot of his fave things have happened off screen that we're not supposed to know about (yet). Wit is his fave role that we've seen!
He enjoys coming up with Epic weaknesses more than Epic powers.
The potato in the minefield was his favorite bad metaphor.
The non-cosmere works/series are not related to each other or in the same universe.
Are the non-cosmere books related?
No, Earth is just generally non-cosmere, but they're not related.
[Brandon] said in the lecture that he took a programming course in college. He was asked if we will ever see a programming language as a magic system?
We already have. Reread Elantris.
He's taken programming classes, and someone wanted to know if he'll apply that knowledge into magic systems.
Yes, see: Elantris.
Why can only women read in [The] Stormlight Archive?
Immediately after the Recreance an old book was used to argue for the idea that only men should be picking up the blades and plate, fighting was a masculine art. Over a period of 20 or so years this became established and some women used the same argument to take back some power by taking literacy for themselves as a feminine art.
How long of an in-book time break between the two 5 book arcs in The Stormlight Archive?
What is the relationship between Nightwatcher and Cultivation?
I expected a hard RAFO, but he said Nightwatcher compared to Cultivation is similar to Stormfather compared to Honor.
[the_archduke] missed the question but someone seemed to be berating Brandon in line about how poorly Glys treats Renarin, like it was abusive or something.
Brandon said that that relationship is different, even for a Nahel bond. And we will see a lot more of Renarin in the next book.
Is Hoid's sword when he is the King's Wit an Invested object?
No. It is a badge of office as the King's Wit. Hoid isn't even that good with a sword.
It is my pleasure, it has been an honor. For those who couldn't hear it was a thank you for releasing books somewhat faster and a thank you for finishing The Wheel of Time.
You know, I've been there. I picked up The Wheel of Time in 1990, my 8th grade year was '89, [...] yeah it's funny, I talk about The Wheel of Time. Everything I picked up while I was coming to love fantasy was all completed series or series in the middle of being written, and so as a kid I'm like "These are all famous series, I want to find one that isn't, what's going to be mine?" You want to be discovering, so I'd go to the bookstore every week to look at the new books coming out and try to find them and I remember grabbing Eye of the World, the first Robert Jordan book, and being like "Oh, this is a big book". I was a kid with not much money, so if you bought a big book it wasn't that much more expensive than a little book but you got a lot more reading in it. It was a good bang for your buck so to speak. So I bought that book and I loved it, and I thought "Oh this is going to be it, this is--" And I remember when the second book came out and they had trade paperbacks and my little bookstore didn't get a lot of those and I went "Oh, OH, something's happening" and then the third book was there in hardcover and I said "Ah-HA! I was right!" So I had this sort of pseudo-paternal instinct for Wheel of Time even when I was 17.
But then I do know what it's like to wait, and you know George [R.R. Martin] is a guest here [at ConQuest 46], I want to speak toward the fact that he has had a long career and given people a lot of books, he may be slowing down a little bit as he's getting older, we all do. And he just wants to make sure his books are all right. I get tired hearing people-- Because I heard people do the same thing to Robert Jordan, y'know cut George some slack. He spent years and years toiling in obscurity until he finally made it big. I'm glad he's enjoying his life a little bit and not stressing about making sure-- You know getting a book that size out every year is really hard on writers. Robert Jordan couldn't keep it up, nobody can keep it up. Stormlight Archive's every two years. Even I, being one of the more fast writers out there, I'm not going to be able to do one of these things every year, there's just too much going on in one. So thank you, I will try to get them to you very consistently but it's going to be about every other year.
Another thing to know about George is George cannot write outside his particular environment-- All writers have their craft and I'll ask [Brandon] about it in a second, but George with HBO sending him out to promote, and cons, he's not writing. Whereas Brandon wrote in his hotel room I heard.
On both nights.
And I often do that too. George can't do that, so that's a difficulty too. There are other factors involved. And people love to meet him but when you meet an author sometimes they're not even writing 'cause they can't keep focus. So let's talk about-- How fast do you write a novel...
My writing approach and how fast I write. I'm actually not a particularly fast writer, for those of you who are writers out there I'll go at about 500 words per hour. What I am is a consistent writer. I enjoy doing this and my average day at home will be I get up at noon, because I'm a writer not a-- I'm not working a desk job, I don't have a desk, I don't go to a desk, I go and sit in an easy chair with my laptop, and I work from about 1 until 5. And then 5 until 9 is family time, I'll go take a shower, play with my kids, eat dinner, spend time with my wife, maybe go see a movie, whatever we end up doing. By about 9 or 10 she goes to bed and I go back to work and then I work from about 10 until 2-4 depending on how busy I am. If I'm ahead on schedules and things at 2 I'll stop and play a videogame or something, that's goof off time, go to bed about 4. And it really just depends on what's going on. If I'm traveling a lot, that puts a lot of stress on the deadline, and I've been traveling a lot lately, so in those cases I try to get some work done while I'm on the road, and it usually is not nearly as effective. I'll get a thousand words out of 4 hours I can sneak out of the day to get writing done. When you're breaking that rhythm, artists are creatures of habit and that rhythm-- Sometimes shaking things up is really good for you, but if that shake up is also kind of tiring, tiring in a good way I like interacting with people and going to cons, but you get back up there I feel like I worked all day and now I have to work all day. It can be rough, and at the same time with the schedule I want to have which is my goal is to release one small book and one big book a year. That’s my goal. One adult book and one teen book, and sometimes those schedules get off so you get one one year and three the next year. Or sometimes I do things like write two books instead of one, I did that this year, or last year. I wrote two Alloy of Law era Mistborn books, the second era of Mistborn books, and together they are half the length of a Stormlight book. So sometimes you'll see three. But I want to be releasing consistently, I want to have a book for teens and a book for larger people who are teens at heart? I dunno. It's hard because you don't want to put a definition on them, I don't want people to go "Oh The Reckoners is for teenagers therefore I don't want to read that" and I don't want to discourage, I've had 7-year-olds come up with their copy of The Way of Kings--
Yeah they're strong. My 7-year-old can barely read the Pokemon video game, so-- we played that-- and so I don't want to discourage anybody from picking up a book they think they are going to love, but I do want to be releasing one quote-unquote teen book and one quote-unquote adult book. By the way, since I've started writing teen, I started distinguishing them and it's really hard to say "I write teenage novels and adult fantasy." *laughter* That term does not always evoke the right image I want… I've been introduced sometimes at conventions that are outside my circuit, writing conferences, as the fantasy guy. They say "Here's our fantasy man" *Brandon makes a shocked/confused face prompting laughter* Okay I can take that.
Could you become a double misting if you took two lerasium/metal alloy beads (I think the example was iron and steel) at the same time?
Is it possible for a seon to abandon someone?
Yes and we might see it in a later book. He avoided answering the follow up about how this could happen.
Will Book 3 [of The Stormlight Archive] be Szeth's book?
He used to think so. Now it might be Dalinar's. He is going to do the flashbacks for both (and Eshonai) and then decide.
[The Stormlight Archive] 3 pov character? Some say Szeth others say it's up in the air?
He said he's not going to canonize it or anything, he's also looking at Dalinar and Eshonai and going to see who's backstory fits the flow of the book best
*Following a reading* That's called Adamant, and the premise that made me want to start writing it was this idea of basically Silence of the Lambs in Space.
Right after this humankind is going to be betrayed by the "nice" aliens, who have given them this sidejack technology and helped them in their war against the violent Knockers. And it turns out they've been played the whole time, the "nice" aliens just wanted a nice race of obedient soldiers. They turn off the sidejack, it knocks out the entire command staff of the Armada and that leaves Jeff, who doesn't have one, who's not really a commander, in charge. He's able to grab the flagship and fly away with the Centurion in the brig, who is the greatest military mind that the galaxy has ever known. So what follows is the story of him trying to get the Centurion to give him advice on tactics in the war against the quote-unquote nice aliens while the Centurion is trying to figure out how to escape and get away from him.
It's a very fun story, but it's not ready to be released. One of the things I'm thinking of doing is if I can maybe slide this into the Cosmere, I haven't decided yet. It would be really fun to get it in there, I think it could, I would just have to lose the Shakespeare line. That's kind of hurting me because I like that line. So we'll see if I can get it in or not...
Is it part of a series?
What I'm going to do is I'll probably do four or five novellas that build-- So it's like a novel told in novella form. I kind of imagine doing some episodes quote-unquote, right? And then have a six-episode season with the last episode being the end, so a mini-series basically. Kind of like what was done with… Wool, that's what it was… I think the the serial has a chance of coming back because of ebooks and things like that.
The question is: Shallan from The Stormlight Archive being an illustrator herself, an artist, gave me an interesting opportunity to show the world through sketches and illustrations, is that something I thought about ahead of time?
In fact that was one of my big goals with The Stormlight Archive, I wanted to-- So I have this feeling on epic fantasy, one of the cool things about it is this sense of immersion, and then the epic fantasies that I have loved the most, things like Dune, if you count that as fantasy it's one of those hybrids, or The Wheel of Time, what they do is they really make this world real to you and that helps these characters, you know I will say that characters are most important but if characters are caring about things you think are silly or interacting in a world you think is not real, you aren't going to believe those characters. And so for me I am always looking for how I can enhance that sense of immersion, and how can I do that without burdening the reader with huge long paragraphs of descriptions of the world around them. And very early in the process of doing The Stormlight Archive I decided I wanted to base a character on Pliny the Elder, which is one of the early scholars in Western thought who did all these sketches and writings-- Back in those days a scientist was everything, right? Darwin did sketches and things like this. You are going to be drawing and writing and approaching all of the sciences and arts as one. Instead of being a person who makes food or stabs other people you are going to do all the other stuff. And that was a really interesting character for me because I was able to develop this idea of "We are going to put sketches in the books". Now The Stormlight Archive, one of the rules with myself is that these all, all the art and there's some thirty pieces of art plus in each book, all have to be in-world artifacts. That's the sense of immersion, right? I don't think we've lost it but it's become a cliche that every fantasy novel has a map in front of it. And that stretches back to Tolkien, but Tolkien's map was the map they used in the book to travel, right? It's the actual map. And I like that, it says "Here's this artifact from the world" rather than "Here is an illustrator from our world giving you this extra information". And so I've taken great pains to say what kind of art they would have, how can I get this into the books, why is it relevant, and how does it help? I found that this helps, particularly with Shallan being a natural historian, sketching out creatures that I don't have to maybe spend quite as long describing-- I still have to because a lot of people listen to the audiobook and I still want them to get the picture, but it just helps cement those things. Anyway, that was one of my big excitements about the world for years and years and it's one of the things propelling me to write it.
Have we seen the [Seventeenth Sharders] from the Way of Kings interlude before?
You have seen two of them, the third is from an unpublished work that will be coming out soon in graphic novel format.
Who are the 3 travelers in [The Way of Kings]?
We've seen 2 of them already.
The third will be in the graphic novels that are coming soon