I don't know if this counts as a question but, Elantris.
*pauses* Elantris! I don't think that is a question. Yeah…
I don't know if this counts as a question but, Elantris.
*pauses* Elantris! I don't think that is a question. Yeah…
So did the Lord Ruler ever have children?
Did the Lord Ruler ever have children? Yes he did.
What was your favorite Mistborn character to write? Personally I hated Elend and Vin but loved Zane.
Oh wow, hated Elend and Vin and loved Zane… *stumbles over words* I'm going to stay away from you. *laughter* I'm just joking. Who's my favorite? *sighs* Picking a favorite character is almost impossible, it's who you're writing at the moment but I kind of have a weird personal connection in a weird way with Sazed so I'll say him. And it's okay if you say "Sah-zed" I say "Say-zed" but I don't say everything right, I say "Kelsi-er" too and his name is "Kelsi-ay".
Can you tell us anything about perpendicularities?
Can I tell you anything about perpendicularities? No. *laughter*
Particularly in the Mistborn series, is there any-- Do you have a favorite emotional moment that you have written?
Do I have a favorite emotional moment that I wrote in the Mistborn series. I am an ending person, so I would say endings of various books, and endings of series in particular, are among my favorite. I'll just leave it there.
Is Dalinar's wife really dead?
Is Dalinar's wife what?
Is Dalinar's wife really dead? That is a Read And Find Out, and you will discover it in the third book.
For the Wax and Wayne series, how do you come up with all of Wayne's little wisecracks?
How do I come up with Wayne’s wisecracks. Here's the deal, it’s kind of hard to write people who are more clever than you are, but it's one of the tricks you have to learn as a writer. The big difference is, they make it off the cuff in the moment, and you can spend like a week or two trying to find the perfect thing to say in that moment. And that's really how it does. Often the characters who are more humorous, or something, that are more-- Like Wayne's a great example, it's very natural for him how he says things, it can take me weeks to come up with a couple of lines of dialogue for Wayne. Where other things get written very quickly. My favorite Wayne-isms are when I can have him use a word that looks, when you're reading along, you just assume it's a word but if you go back you go "Wait a minute, did he actually say 'defecation of character'?" or something like that. So you don't even notice it on the first read through. The things where a copy-editor is "Oh, you used the wrong word here" those are my favorite Wayne-isms. Those take forever.
With all the characters that you design-- And what you just about putting a character in and spinning a story around them. Are there any that you keep on a backlog to try and mix to see if--
Oh yeah, good question. Are there any characters that I keep on the back burner that I'm like "Eventually I'll find a place for this character they haven't worked yet". Totally. What I have is this notes file, it's literally called "cool stuff that I need to use sometime" *laughter* and it's like when I see something in news or I see some-- I meet a person and I'm like "I'm going to use that someday" and it can be years before I end up sticking them in. One of the-- Let's see if I can remember, there was a cool example of this actually, from one of my book. Oh I'm trying to remember what it was that I eventually managed to stick this into a book it was years later. But it happens all the time, I'll try to think of it. When you come through the line ask me and I'll try to remember it.
If you took somebody-- an Allomancer and them in a different one of your worlds, could they still burn metal there?
Could Allomancers burn metal on other planets in the cosmere, yes they could. Good question.
I want to say that I really admire that your characters are people first and not gender first. And I want to ask if anyone calls you Branderson? *laughter*
She gave me a very nice compliment and asked if anyone calls me Branderson, and yes, it is starting to kind of catch on among the community. I don't know-- I don't know if it'd be my first choice but I will accept being called Branderson as opposed to-- People have called me BS since I was a kid *laughter* This is a step up.
So in The Stormlight Archive series--
The Stormlight Archive? How old are you? *laughter* How old are you?
Nine?! You're reading The Stormlight Archive? You are awesome! *cheers*
So the character Lift, for her powers, why does she have to eat food instead of sucking in--
So why does Lift have to eat food instead of sucking in Stormlight. So Lift is a really weird one, she visited the Old Magic and asked something very strange. And the Old Magic didn't know how to treat that and answered with something equally strange. So you will eventually see what happened with Lift and things like that but suffice it to say some really weird things are going on with Lift.
What level of completion do you write your novels and then submit to editors?
What level of completion do I write my novels and then submit to the editors. So here is a quick look at my drafting process. Draft 1, hopefully no one ever sees. That-- I'm a momentum writer, a lot of writers are like this, where I can't stop in the middle and revise unless something is really broken. So if there's something I want to change I just keep going and try it out for the next chapter. "Oh I needed another character in here" I will just add them in and everyone will act like they've always been there. And I'll try it out for a chapter and if it works I'll keep going that way, and if it doesn't I'll cut them out and try something else in the next chapter. So first drafts can be really weird, right? Like "Am I supposed to know this person that everyone else knows? Have I forgotten who this was?" and things like that, characters just vanish, or I'll leave out the foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is really easy to put in later on, you're just like-- Stuff like this.
Second draft is to fix all that stuff. I can sometimes send that on, but what I really like to send is third draft which is the first polish. Where I actually try for the first time to make it pretty, or at least non-cringeworthy. So that's what I send to an editor. That's what also I'll send to alpha readers, which are my writing group, my agent, my friends and family, and things like that. Once that gets back I do a bunch of revisions until it's good, and then we'll get beta readers, who are usually community beta readers… If you want to be one of those I'm not the person to convince, Peter is the person to convince. He is the executi-- editorial assistant, not executive--I've three assistants, they all have different titles--He's my editorial assistant. He's the one who picks the betas, and they do a bunch of reads and then I do a bunch of drafts based on what they say. And then it goes to like proofreads and things like that.
So with the depth of the novels, and the number of novels, that you create, do you have an assistant, or some sort of system--
Do I have an assistant--
Well I mean--
A system to remember everything... Yes I do. What I use is a wiki. I use a personal wiki, just like Wikipedia that is called-- I use an open-source software called wikidpad... and I have someone whose job it is to read my books after I write them, go make all of those notes into the wiki with page references so when I write the next one I can look them all up in the book and things like this. They have a very fun, yet tedious, job.
As a writer that has written a lot, do you still struggle with certain aspects of writing, like punctuation slip-ups or--
Do I still struggle, as a writer who has written a lot, with certain things. I would say my biggest weakness as a writer is repeating words or phrases, which is a very common thing for writers to have who are not really-- There are people like Pat Rothfuss who don't have this problem because they slave over every sentence. For years. *laughter* I love you Pat, you know I love you. But for most writers that's one, and that's one that is mine. And one way I try to fight this is I try to highlight the ones I use a lot, I have my assistant watch for them and do a search and replace in Microsoft Word for the word with brackets around it, so it leaves the same word, it just brackets it, so I can really decide, do I want to use that word or did I just use it because that's the word I always use? So there's that. The other big thing as a writer is I still don't like revision. I still get-- Revision-- I want to be writing a new story not revising an old one. But fortunately this is a battle that revision won like twenty years ago. More like fifteen. But I've gotten used to how I have to do it and when a book is done, and the number of drafts it requires to really make a great book. So I do it even though, you know.
Do you have any ideas for characters in different series meeting each other?
Do I have any ideas for characters in different series meeting each other. Yes I do. You will see a bunch of that. And if you haven't seen the little behind the scenes Mistborn novella I did called Secret History... that involves characters from different stories meeting each other.
Is there any connection between Odium and Trell?
Is there any connection between Odium and Trell. This is-- Yes there is some connection. That is a question about-- If you understood it then great, if you didn't then don't worry.
One of the things I really appreciate about your series in general is the depth of your magic systems, whether it's Investiture or-- Whatever the rules are, they're very detailed, very internally consistent. There's never anything where I can point out "Oh that contradicts something that somebody said two books ago". To what degree do you come up with--I guess--the universe before you write the novel or the--
Good question! So he's talking about my magic systems and how internally consistent they are. And the question is, do I do the worldbuilding first and then write the novel around it or do I do it the other way around. And the answer is: Yes! Which is one of those unsatisfying authorly answers. It depends on the story. For instance with the Wax and Wayne books, I already had the world built and so in that I'm building a story around a setting that already existed. With The Reckoners what happened is, I had the idea for people who gain superpowers all going evil and that concept spun me into building a story about it. And so that's more of an idea that spins a story rather than a setting.
Sometimes I've had a character that I really want to tell a story about, like Raoden or something like this, and then I build magic to match. It happens all different ways, and really what it is is a give and a take. Once you start with a character, you start building a story around them, and then you stop and work on the magic for a while and then you go back to the character and then you go back to the magic and then you go to the setting, then you go to the plot. As you build an outline you weave all these things together, you're not just spending time on one until it's done, and then the next 'til it's done, and then go. But it's happened all different ways for me.
So I listen to your podcast, Writing Excuses, and you've been, this year, breaking down stories into different parts. Was Bands of Mourning an attempt, for you, to write a pulp novel?
The question is on Writing Excuses we've been breaking story down into different parts. Was Bands of Mourning an attempt to write a pulp novel? Actually all of the Wax and Wayne books are a hearkening back to classic serials and pulp novels. So yes, it was me looking at that-- I kind of pitched those books to myself as "Mistborn: the television show. The action serial" if that makes sense. Where the other ones were the Mistborn epic fantasies, these are the action serials. And I did try to kind of vary the genre, the first one is kind of more straight-up detective novel, the second one is psychological thriller, and then the third one is kind of a classic serial adventure story. So yeah, that was very intentional, it's me trying to take different tones and mash them up with different stories and see what comes out.
Oh, my pleasure. She says that she has Asperger's and when she read the book The Bands of Mourning, and the other ones that have Steris in them, she identified a lot with Steris. I appreciate that.
What research did I do, did I talk to autistic people. I have several people in my life who actually have Asperger's specifically, and they were a huge resource, as you might imagine. One of the things that I like to do, kind of a mandate I have in my fiction, is to try to get people who are heroic who have different types of psychology than we usually see in heroes. Because the more I've lived in life, the more I've realized that we all are really distinctive in our own way, and our psychology all works differently. And yet we see a lot of heroes that all kind of have the same brain chemistry, it seems. Which has always felt really weird to me. And so it's kind of one my mandates to do that.
What research did I do? When I was in college, one of my favorite things to do was sneak into classes I wasn't signed up for, and the psychology classes were my favorite. This friend, who coincidentally was the one who wanted to be a chef, actually got a psychology major. His parents were "You should do something useful with your life." and so he got a psychology major, which he ended up going to med school. He didn't become a chef, he went to med school. He likes that too. But I would sneak into his classes and they were so useful as a writer, just listening to the different types, and to start to see personality not as-- We like to look at a lot of things as being normal or abnormal, but that's not the way it is. Everyone's personality is on this interesting spectrum and what is normal and what is abnormal is completely a matter of perspective. Where you stand on this line as opposed to-- It's like trying to make a value judgement that shouldn't really exist. And to come to see these personalities as great swathes of interesting color is what the psychology classes taught me. And so there was that and I did do some specific research for Steris and then I interviewed people as well.
I'm glad that you picked up on it without me ever having to say what she was, and things like that. That's when I really feel like I've nailed something, when you can read something and say "Yeah that's who this person is" instead of someone outside pointing and saying "this is who this person is, who they are"
How many Shards are whole at the time of [Shadows of Self]?
How many Shards are whole at the time of Shadows? I'm just going to RAFO that because-- because I don't want to do math right now.
More than half or less than half?
At the time of Shadows? How many Shards--
Or about half?
Ha! *long pause* *really high and stretched out* Half-ish?
Half-ish. It depends.
Give or take?
Give or take. Like it de-- Are there now only 15? Like what's the number? ...So-- I'm not going to-- I'm not going to--
Is the gender of a spren bonded to a surgebinder based on sexual preferences?
It-- A lot of people are curious about this one… Not strictly but there is an influence there. But it's not strict. In other words Renarin having a male spren does not necessarily mean--
What some think it means?
-what some thinks it means. How about this you are more likely to bond a spren of an opposite gender-- a spren who identifies as an opposite gender, because spren don't actually have gender. But you are also more likely, statistically, to like members of the opposite gender. Those things have a correlation. Whether they have a causation is not a thing I am canonizing.
Has Odium used the weapon created by Adonalsium's opposition?
Has who? Odium?
Odium, has Odium? That's a RAFO.
It seems to me that members of the [LDS] church generally like Elantris a lot more than people who aren't in the church and why do you think that is?
I haven't noticed that but if that were the case… boy. I don't know that whole Raoden just pushed through it has some sort of tying your spirit to it and that's definitely-- I could see that being relevant.
I've been told it's Hrathen's struggle with faith.
I think they like the whole-- the whole evil missionary thing would be something thing that members of the church would be like "Ahh evil missionary?! That's cool!" *laughter* So I think that's totally possible but I hadn't noticed that specifically. I think that it is also a book that is less focused on the action and fighting. Like Mistborn is more focused on that, and so I would expect that there's that relevant issue, perhaps, as well.
Why don't Northern Lights ever appear in the Era One Mistborn trilogy? If Luthadel is situated at the Magnetic North Pole?
It has-- ‘Cause as I understand--has to do with-- what is it coming off the sun--
That cause the aurora borealis. It's not just the magnetic-- There's physics involved which are not relevant in the Mistborn world.
Are twins more likely to be Allomancers?
They are more likely to share--
--to share Allomantic attributes.
--to share Allomantic attributes.
Does it make a difference if they’re identical or fraternal?
It does… Yeah, it does. Fraternals are still more likely. But identical are even more likely.
Okay so fraternal are more likely than siblings--
Than siblings, yes.
And identical are more likely than--
Last time you said that his name, if it wasn’t Harmony, it would be something else. Is it Discord?
This is relevant.
It is relevant?
With the god-Shards, is it possible to put-- for someone to put one down without dying?
Yes, it is.
*referring to a personalization request* That is a R A F O, but you do earn a card for your RAFO... Now let me just say--
I'm not asking about Nightblood, I'm asking about the Shardblades.
Yeah-- Oh, OH. You're asking-- okay. You're not asking what other Shardblades made, but if somebody brought a Shardblade to another pl--
Like if Kaladin went to Nalthis.
Okay, his Shardblade would manifest exactly-- it would do exactly the same thing.
The size of the metal, does it matter to transfer Allomancy or can it be really really tiny or really really big?
For Allomancy? Or what, a bead of lerasium? Is that what you're talking about?
Yeah, when you're transferring the powers, like to make someone a Mistborn...
Yeah it has to be-- The size of it is going to influence how strong a Mistborn you are.
It couldn't be a sliver.
Yeah-- Well it could, you'd just be really weak as a Mistborn.
Is it possible to Compound your Spiritual Connection to a location on a planet while storing your Spiritual Connection to all other locations on the planet to kind of pull yourself through the Spiritual Realm to that location?
That's not how that would work. Parts of what you say are possible, but the teleportation aspect wouldn't actually do anything.
Was Hoid trying to Compound his Spiritual location in the scene you added in the 10th Anniversary [Elantris]? Was he trying to Compound Connection to that location to try to become Elantrian?
...So at that point chronologically he was not an Allomancer.
*referring to his personalization request* Just that one. Wayne is a wise man, wrapped up inside of a sad man, wrapped up inside of a silly man.
He likes a hat to be nice and stiff. To mean something. And a fedora is going to be too weak for him. Too... too floppy. It's not a hat you have to commit to, in Wayne's opinion.
Is the radiance of the Returned, or people with Breath, is it like Stormlight coming off of people? Or is it a different concept?
It's a similar concept with different magic systems.
Given equal footing with weapons, who would win in a fight: Batman or Kaladin?
...Batman or Kaladin?
Given that they have equal weapons.
Does Kaladin have Stormlight?
Only if Batman gets Stormlight too.
Batman can't use Stormlight.
Then Kal-- Equal footing. So if Kaladin gets to use Stormlight, so does Batman.
But he can't use it. See this fight doesn't make sense, because it's like-- You know-- Well, I mean, if you give Batman Stormlight does it make any sense? If you give a bunch of Batarangs to Kaladin, he's like "What do I do with these?" I don't know. Does Batman have time to prepare? Because if Batman has time to prepare... If Batman has time to prepare then he's in good shape.
Maybe Batman just gets Shard-Batarangs and nothing else.
If he meets Kaladin on the field of battle, Kaladin's a soldier and Batman's not. Batman's not going to do well in a war.
Yeah-- But if Kaladin doesn't have any powers, Batman has extensive hand-to-hand training.
Yes, yes he does.
Do you consider yourself a lighteyes or a darkeyes?
I am darkeyed… These hazel eyes don't get quite light enough, they wouldn't count me.
Who would win in a fight, Kaladin or Kelsier?
Kelsier, he fights dirty. Kaladin has, probably, more raw power-- I don't know. Kelsier's going to win easy though. He's just going to murder him in his sleep.
How many blushes did Blushweaver weave?
Hehe, as many blushes-- How many blushes would Blushweaver weave if Blushweaver could weave blushes? Many a blush is what Blushweaver weaved-- wove.
We've got Kaladin's name meaning, do we have Shallan's?
Shallan is-- Her name comes from Shalash, the herald, so it's kind of like naming somebody Christian in a lot of ways. Or naming someone Michael, though Michael has a meaning. Shalash does too but it's so old-- Like-- Yes, it will have a meaning but really what you need to know is "she is named after the Herald Shalash", right? But I'm sure we can dig out what the meaning is because it does have a meaning... I mean Kaladin's has a meaning even though he's named after Kalak.
I do have one question that I have no idea if you'll answer. Aronack?
Yes. Wow, you're going way back.
Well it gets worse, I noticed the name both in Dragonsteel [Prime] and in some chapters from Liar of Partinel--
Was that a cannibalization? Or is that two separate appearances?
So Liar of Partinel was a re-envisioning of... Dragonsteel and so there were certain things I was changing but that's not one of them. That's the same person.
So was that story arc just-- Okay it's just the same thing?
How has the process of portraying women changed from Elantris to the more recent books?
Portraying women? A couple of things. I would say the primary one is just getting better at characterization all around. And the other one has been kind of this-- *sighs* struggle to figure out how to make every female character's conflict be about her role-- Not just her relationships, that one's not as big a deal because-- I mean if you look at the male characters, they all have relationship issues too, right? But it's more like fighting against-- Like if every woman is fighting against society's expectations of her that becomes a cliche very quickly and there are plenty of people, of both genders who are fighting against society's expectations but people of both genders are like "This is my society, I'm part of this" it's not fighting against it it's "finding my place". It's very difficult though when you are writing characters in states of conflict. So, I don't know.
I read Shadows of Self and Elantris back-to-back, and that was really interesting to see the differences between the first published and most recent published.
Right, yeah. Those books will have some very big differences.
How did people-- So apparently Zahel... who is teaching Kaladin Shardblade stuff... He's Warbreaker?
He is Warbreaker.
How did people figure that out?
The color metaphors. He displays BioChromatic Breath. It's not that great because I didn't put a lot of color metaphors into the book, even though I wish I had, I've gotten better about adding flavor to books. But really he notices when Kaladin is coming to knock on his door before Kaladin gets there. That's one of the big clues that people got.
So Nightblood is basically a Shardblade from a different god-Shard--
--is that how it works?
Are there going to be-- Are there Allomantic Shardblades?
Not yet... And the Nightblood experiment has been an interesting experiment.
Are you considering doing and more digital versions with the annotations kind of baked in, similar to Warbreaker?
I'd have to write more annotations for it to really be relevant and the time do that has just vanished on me. So maybe we'll get the original Mistborn trilogy done that way. But I'm less certain I will ever get any more annotations written.
I noticed that you-- Was that a retcon on the way iron Feruchemy works?
What do you mean?
There's a researcher who talks to Wax, asking him about whether he's changing his mass of whether he's changing whether the planet perceives him-- affecting his gravity.
Right. It's more a re-- Defining something I didn't pin down strongly enough. I wouldn't call it a retcon because it's something that nobody really did until Wax, really, in the series. The only one really capable of doing that in the original trilogy would have been the Lord Ruler, maybe some of the Inquisitors, but we don't have viewpoints from them. So I wouldn't call it a retcon I would just say it’s something that didn't come up in the first series that now I have to make sure is clear.
So is it Higgs field stuff going on?
My idea was right.
I've heard about a Shard that just wants to survive, hiding off-- it doesn't have a planet it doesn't--
--out there in space, trying to survive. Does it have the intent of like Fear, or something like that?
The intent is related but only tangentially. Mostly it just knows what's going on and is smart enough to get out of there.
Which character, do you feel, would be the most "at-home" in this world that we live in here?
Most at-home? *long pause* Hoid?
Do you have master-copies of all of these carved in metal so Ruin and Preservation can't...
*laughs* Well they're gone, Harmony is around. I don't mind if he reads'em.
So is it just a coincidence that both Vin and Kelsier are Mistborn with siblings who are Seekers?
Um… Mostly a coincidence.
When someone is born as a Misting, is the type of Misting they are dependent on random chance or genetics or their personality? Is that something...
So the surprise with Lessie at the end of the last book [Shadows of Self], at what point did you know-- Like did you know that in... writing Alloy of Law?
I knew that at the end of Alloy of Law. So what I do is I write a book, and then I go and build a series out of it. So I wrote Alloy of Law. I then built a series out of it, then I went and wrote the prologue to Alloy of Law. And then I released Alloy of Law. I did a revision too to make sure it was all in there. And so, actual writing of Alloy of Law? No. By the time I'd done the revisions on Alloy of Law? Yes. And then I built the three book outline that would be the trilogy you are now in the middle of.
And Mistborn had some similiar things where I wrote the first book, then outlined second two, and revised the first one, then wrote the second two. It works really well for me doing that with a trilogy, because you get some spontaneity for the first book, and you know how the characters are and you can build a larger framework for them.
I'm the guy who asked about the game.
Oh right, so have you guys released stuff?
No. I have an app, that's a level builder, that is technically published but it's *audio obscured* the guy who's doing the art *audio obscured*
Like I do wish you the best of luck. My friends at ChAIR, Epic Games, they were just BYU guys who got together to release their own game but I need to do it with people who have done things before.
Oh yeah. After we get a couple--
After you get a couple games, if you come to me. Because I have some really cool ideas for how a great Rithmatist game would work. Like I think what you would want to have is pieces of chalklings that people could piece together, and then they have to draw their chalkling and they’d piece together their circle and then enter into a duel with someone else on their own iPad and you have to trace your circle. You trace it. And whoever get's done first get's a bonus to their strength or whatever, but whoever's most accurate also gets one. Stuff like that would be a lot of fun to be able to do.