And finally, to speak non-canonically, would burning copper mask someone channeling the one power, and would burning bronze allow one to detect when someone was channeling?
Uh... You should ask Kelsier. He probably tried it when he hung out with Moiraine.
Could an iron Twinborn "fly" by drastically increasing his weight, pulling hard on a counterweight so it flew above him, then decreasing his weight drastically and pulling himself up by the counterweight, and repeating?
It's plausible. It's kind of a 'Thor-like' way to fly, isn't it? (For those unaware, he throws his hammer and it carries him with it, and STOP THINKING.) I played with this idea, but the trick is not getting hit by the counterweight as you pull it to yourself. If you could stop that, you might be able to manage it, but it felt pretty hard to pull off to me.
What are the chances that you will eventually write a fifth Alcatraz book?
Does Alcatraz ever actually end up tied to a stack of encyclopedias, about to be sacrificed by evil librarians?
I bought the rights to the Alcatraz series back from Scholastic earlier this year, and they were given a 'sell-off' period to sell the rest of their stock. I now own the rights again free and clear, and will probably be putting out an omnibus ebook. (Perhaps a print one with Tor as well.)
I can now write the fifth book (which Scholastic did not want.) It was always planned as the book where he ends up on that stack of encyclopedias. I'll do this sometime next year, hopefully.
It seems that certain colors and numbers appear frequently in specific Cosmere books, like the number 5 in Warbreaker or red and blue in Elantris. Do these colors or numbers happen to refer to a specific Shard, and if so, would they be consistent across the cosmere?
Certain colors and numbers are important in reference to certain Shards.
What question do you wish that readers would ask you but that no one has?
Surprisingly, I get this exact question every few months or so. (Mostly in interviews.) I can never come up with something.
Is there a chance that any dead protagonists will miraculously come back (IE Vin, Elend, Lightsong) to help fight later battles? You have shown Kelsier having influence after he died, and Sazed makes a statement about keeping in touch with Vin and Elend.
I don't want to be unsympathetic to people's love for these characters, but I feel that as a writer I must resist the urge to bring back characters in this manner. I feel it would undermine my storytelling. I never want to get to the point where people read and the tension of a character being in danger is ruined by the thought, "Well, even if they die, they'll probably just be brought back in the future."
I'm not saying I won't ever do it, but I want to be very sparing. I like how Robert Jordan did it with a certain character's return in [Towers of Midnight]. It was foreshadowed, built into the story itself, and relevant.
There are characters--in the 36-book-cosmere-superoutline--who return when thought dead. Some have not met their perceived end yet, while others have. So it's going to happen, but I want it to be very rare.
Where did humanity originate in the cosmere?
The first planet with humans on it was Yolen.
Can we expect to see a fight between a Windrunner, an Awakener, and an Allomancer in one of the Stormlight books?
I've said before that it's unlikely that the Stormlight books will ever delve strongly into the connections between worlds. There will be some cool things happening for the cosmere-literate, but this series isn't focused on those concepts. I want it to maintain its plot cohesion for those who aren't aware of all of the behind-the-scenes stories.
Epilogue to Book Two should excite you, though.
Does Sazed's biological body still exist somewhere? If so, does that body still possess Feruchemical abilities?
Yes, it does exist, though kind of...blended-in, so to speak, as happened with the others when they Ascended. Yes, it still has his abilities, though they are kind of moot now.
Between the Parshendi and the Alethi harvesting gemhearts, how long has it been since a chasmfiend got to finish pupating?
Aha. I wondered if someone would ask that. Much like whaling in our own world, there is a big ecological price building for what is going on here. You are right to worry about this.
What's up with those fish in the Purelake?
Haven't you always wanted magic fish?
Are the Heralds native to Roshar?
RAFO (Man, you're good at asking those, aren't you?)
Could a Shardbearer materialize his or her Shardblade inside another person? What about something inanimate like stone?
Could a Shardblade sever a Nahel Bond? Could it slice a spren?
How extensively do you outline?
Depends on the book. Alloy of Law had a few pages. The Way of Kings had hundreds of worldbuilding notes. The outline for [Words of Radiance] sits open on my computer right now at...12 pages single spaced. It's maybe 2/3 done.
I am currently trying to write a book in which the world is drastically different from earth. Do you think it is too ambitious to start out with such a complex setting?
No, not at all. Just don't try TOO hard to describe every aspect of it. It's good to be ambitious. However, be careful to keep you number of viewpoints down for your first few attempts--that will spiral out of control faster than worldbuilding will. Don't feel the need to explain too much, keep the focus on the characters, and you should be fine.
Will you ever go into more detail about the dead original shardholders? I'd love to know what kind of people Tanavast, Ati, and Leras were.
They will all be characters in the Dragonsteel series.
Out of all your magic systems, which one would you choose to be a user of?
I'd be a Mistborn if possible. So many fun interactions. Not quite as powerful as some of those on Roshar, perhaps, but very fun.
Any advice for an aspiring fantasy writer? Besides the obligatory "Read a lot and write a lot!!!" Characterization advice is especially appreciated.
Well, I do have my lectures on this topic. Go to writeaboutdragons.com and listen to the characterization lecture. I think you'll find it helpful.
Do remember that your characters should have passions, goals, and flaws that are distinct from the plot of the story. They can sometimes align, but a character should have a life and passions outside of what happens TO them.
How did you portray Jasnah's atheism so well? As a staunch atheist myself, I think you did an absolutely brilliant job. Honestly, It made me happy that a religious person was trying to understand my mindset. Anyway, who did you ask to get such accurate ideas of atheist thought?
I found some really good atheist forums. Not the 'hate on religion' type atheist forums, but the kind with some serious depth. People asking one another about morality, talking about how they felt when people reacted to them being an atheist, and expressing their philosophy. I gained a great deal of respect for them during these readings.
From there, I went and chatted with some atheists I know to gauge if I had a good handle on things. It was important that I get this right, as it's different enough from my own worldview that if it went wrong, it would have gone VERY wrong and I'd have ended up with something insulting.
What has turned out better for you, starting with the characters, the plot, or the world when you are beginning the writing process for a book?
Any time I have the characters from the get go, I feel like I'm leaps and bounds ahead. Having a very strong ending in mind before outlining is also very, very helpful.
What is your favorite of your own books?
I can never answer this. It's like trying to choose your favorite child. :)
Where did you get the idea for your Adonalsium mythos? Did it develop in your head for a while, or did you have a sudden flash of inspiration.
Over time, particularly when building Dragonsteel as a novel. I was planning it as I wrote Elantris. Hoid has been around forever, long before Adonalsium became the central plot of his story. I have an old short story from the early, early, early days where he's on a planet trying to figure out how the local magic system works.
Lastly, less pressingly, do Spirit Points (Hemalurgic spots) apply to ever magic system, and through the cosmere at large? Ie. could Hemalurgy be used to take any other magic systems aspects, and do other magic systems also have these 'Points', such as Body Focuses, that work in similar ways?
Hemalurgy crosses magic systems. You could steal things from people on other worlds, if you knew the right places for the spikes.
Does the Spiritual power used in any given magic system come from the supporting Shard itself, or through it from the remains of Adonalsium and the Power of Creation?
From the Shard in most cases. But it's also often built into the world innately, and so the Shard (if someone is holding it) doesn't always have control over who can or cannot use the magic.
Can magic systems from one world work in any given other?
For some, it will take quite a bit of work, but it's possible to get them each to work. Sel's magics are regional, and so they are going to be tough. Scadrial's magics are the easiest.
So, firstly, is the Cognitive Realm the only way to access the Spiritual Realm from the Physical Realm, and vice versa?
What's your opinion on golems/constructs/robots? The Lifeless are a somewhat similar concept, but I was curious as to whether there's a world in the cosmere that might have a more classical take on ye ol' fantasy standby guardian, or are Awakened suits of armor as close as we can get? Is the Future Mistborn trilogy going to have Anti-Allomancer Alluminaughts?
Ha. I am fascinated the idea of golems, and when I play an RPG I'm often trying to make golems of one sort or another. However, I worry that the idea is a little overdone in fiction, so my takes on that sort of thing come in more unusual flavors.
Are there any plans for a world where the magic system operates through devices that transform and empower individuals with spectacular abilities? Like...say...a belt with an ornate buckle...a bracer..things like that?
Are there any worldhoppers that we should recognize as worldhoppers in anything other than [The Way of Kings] beyond Hoid?
They aren't recognizable, and aren't intended to be, as of yet. There are some around, however.
Is there a magic system that best allows people to worldhop between worlds?
Yes, but it isn't needed. Some do help more with understanding how to traverse the Cognitive Realm.
Are there any ramifications beyond leaving one's world behind when they worldhop to other worlds? IE physical ailment, aging, time travel lag X1000
Is Hoid's base magic system Lightweaving?
Is it possible for a non-native being to use a Shardblade?
Is there any ramifications to the holder of a Shardblade for using a Blade in a manner that it wasn't intended?
Depends on the type of Shardblade. (You have seen three different kinds in [The Way of Kings].) For most, no. For some, most certainly.
Would a Breath imbued object stop a Shardblade?
Could a Shardblade holder potential drill a hole through the planet by using his Blade like Dalinar?
Uh... I think that you'd hit the core and that would not be a good thing for you.
What is your favorite world of the cosmere?
Favorite world? Probably Roshar, as it's the most unique.
Is there a way to harvest BioChromatic Breath from a planet, if it holds any? (If a person dies, and their body turns to dusty he dust of the earth, then doesn't [Nalthis] therefore hold thousands, if not millions, of BioChromatic Breaths?)
Possible. It would be the same thing as harvesting the nature of Preservation or Ruin, which--on Scadrial--took the form of nuggets of metal.
Are Surgebinding and Awakening related?
All of the magic systems are related, and these two do share some defining fundamentals.
Can people from one area of the cosmere Return to the place in the cosmere where Awakeners are from?
Meaning, can they travel to Nalthis, where Warbreaker takes place? Yes, they can.
Does Szeth-son-son-Vallano's Surgebinding require an honorspren like Kaladin's?
No, it does not. (Hm....) Gold star to you.
What did Jek and Szeth do to become Truthless?
This will be answered in his book, during his flashback sequences.
Is Jek-son-son-Vallano important?
Is Jek-son-son-Vallano Szeth-son-son-Vallano's brother?
He is the same person as Szeth; I just changed the name. Sorry, no hidden truth there.
Did Cultivation come to Roshar with Honor, or was she already on Roshar when Honor arrived?
Good question. They came together.
Having to do with Legion, if you could take a picture of any historical event what would it be?
Wow, tough question there at the end. Hmmm.... So many choices. Sermon on the Mount, perhaps?
I love Wax as a Skimmer and a Coinshot. Is that your favorite Twinborn combination? If not, what is?
It's certainly one of my favorites. However, some of the characters in the modern day trilogy have some really neat combinations as well.
In what ways do you feel that finishing The Wheel of Time helped to prepare you for The Stormlight Archive and how did it change your writing in general, if at all?
I gained three things, I feel, by working over the years on [The Wheel of Time]. (And, in particular, by studying [Robert Jordan]'s work in depth.) I learned how to better balance lots of different viewpoints, I got a better grip for foreshadowing and subtlety over many books, and I gained a deeper understanding of how to write a really sold third person viewpoint.
Are any of your books' locations (barring Legion) based on real-life places? If so, where? If not, what propels your creative drive to make new worlds?
All of the keeps in the Mistborn series are based on real structures I've visited. The mists are based on a trip to Idaho, were I drove through a fog bank at high speeds.
Warbreaker's setting was inspired, in part, by a visit to Hawaii.
Much of Roshar is inspired by tidal pools and coral reefs.
Do any characters from Nalthis appear in The Way of Kings?