Recent entries

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Brady Dill

    What kind of college classes (not English courses) would best prepare someone for writing fantasy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Whatever you're fascinated by! You can incorporate basically anything into a story. If you love numbers, study economics. If you like history, pick an area and type and become an expert. Whether it be law or botany, you will find a way to use it in your books.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Annie Lown

    In the Wheel of Time books, did the Creator have a power, similar to the True Power that the Dark One had?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm afraid I don't have the answer for this, not for certain. I think that readers of the text could argue both ways. For example, a certain event in the epilogue of [A Memory of Light] could be interpreted this way--though everyone in Team Jordan seems to have a different opinion on what is going on, and [Robert Jordan] didn't leave an explanation.

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    Adrienne

    Can the various forms of Investiture on other worlds in the cosmere be classified as "end positive" or "end negative" like they are on Scadrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Some can. Not all.

    Footnote: This question excludes "end-neutral" and Brandon has previously established that all magics do fall into one of these three classifications.
    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Krystal Hammond

    How much do you use science to influence/guide your world building in what most people would identify as a fantasy setting?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I use it quite a bit, but as I'm writing fantasy, I go by the rule "do what is awesome first, then explain it." Meaning, I am looking to tell a certain kind of story, and while science is often a springboard into a magic, I will sometimes chose to do what I think makes the story better as opposed to what is scientifically rational. The way the Metallic Arts work with mass is one example.

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    William Anderson

    Why are do the Windrunners, Elsecallers, Stonewards, and Dustbringers have an extra connection on the Surgebinding diagram? Why do the Edgedancer, Skybreaker, Lightweaver, Willshaper's have a broken connection on the diagram? What are the dragon type things in the back of the diagram?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The dragon type things are a certain animal you've seen several places in the story so far.

    These connections will be explained eventually, but remember it's not the orders being connected, but instead their elemental representations. This diagram is very metaphysical, and some of the elements of it are cultural.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Leinton

    So a friend and I who share a passion for sword fighting have been trying to find the real world correlates for the stances that Sharbearers use. So far we've made connections between Windstance and Haidong Gumdo, and Smokestance and the late Medieval/early Renaissance fencing. I was wondering if you could give us more information or at least hints on the other real world correlates?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I developed these with Ben McSweeney's help, and we plan to include representations of all the stances eventually. However, a few are NOT based on real-world equivalents, because of the size of Shardblades. Look at how various very-large weapons like zweihanders or Zanbat's were used.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Mandi

    In [Words of Radiance] Shallan notes that spren don't appear around dense groups of people, even if emotions are high. Why is that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll find out more eventually. There are several reasons, but imagine how a creature attracted to a specific color would respond if you dumped every color together in a big mess.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Val

    How quickly are you able to get back into the storyline flow when you begin another book? e.g. Do you have to review notes extensively for a few days?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I wish I had a better way to do it, actually. I usually lose a few days or more while trying to get into a book I've stopped for some reason. My primary method is to read what I've written before (or, if it is a new book in a series, the last part of the previous book.) That tends to help get me into a mood, so to speak. But it can take days of thinking, working, and throwing away my work to get into the groove.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Tirithna

    Does Shardplate have one general style as a pattern, or do different types exist (like European armour vs. Japanese armour), as the different kingdoms have different cultures?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Different types exist, but it's more along order lines than cultural ones. (That said, a person's culture could certainly influence their armor.)

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Jesse

    I love stories in any medium, and I would love to tell one myself. But, I don't think I have anything in particular to say that hasn't been done a thousand times before. I invariably come across some story that already parallels my ideas. What makes a story worth telling even when its like has been done before?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The answer is simple: YOU are what makes your story worth telling. Harry Potter wasn't an original story, and yet told very well, it became an excellent series.

    My suggestion to you is to ask what unique passions or life experiences you have that aren't found in the average fantasy book. This genre still has a lot of room to grow. A person passionate about sports could write a very different fantasy novel from one passionate about lawn care—assuming they take what they know and love and make us, as readers, come to know and love it as well.

    Good luck!

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Argent

    The "God Surges" you mentioned recently, are they a part of the Way of Kings frontsheet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All I said regarding this was to tell a fan that it was possible to make an analogy between the god metals on Scadrial and certain powers on Roshar. However, these are not a codified part of the magic system.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Jerry Dol

    How much time do you usually spend on creating a magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It really depends on the book, the length of the story, and how integral to magic is to that particular story. Some are as fast as a couple of days; some take months and months. It is also difficult to answer this question because I spend a lot of time thinking about a book before writing, and the Magic is often part of that. I will often spend years with an idea growing in the back of my mind before writing--and in those cases, the actual "outlining" may take a month, but that doesn't begin to cover the time spent on the idea.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Scott King

    Out of all the books you've written which do you think is the best?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Matteo

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Kritika

    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!

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Anderson Tiago

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Sharade

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Jerry Dol

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Hanna

    What advice would you give to someone who is trying to write an epic fantasy novel for the first time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    Shauna Mahana

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think I'd dig hanging out with Sazed. The usual would be, "tell me about a religion you've studied."

    Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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    M.M. Schill

    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. ??)

    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    Salt Lake City Comic-Con FanX 2015 ()
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    Sirce Luckwielder (paraphrased)

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    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.

    Salt Lake City Comic-Con FanX 2015 ()
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    Sirce Luckwielder (paraphrased)

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    His answer was that there were other savants before Spook.

    Salt Lake City Comic-Con FanX 2015 ()
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    Sirce Luckwielder (paraphrased)

    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?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    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.

    Firefight Phoenix signing ()
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    ZenBossanova (paraphrased)

    I asked if knowing the positions/orbits of the moons would be enough to predict the [highstorms].

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    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.

    ZenBossanova (paraphrased)

    I then turned back and asked, "Are you saying the highstorms are music?"

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He replied, "I didn't say they were music. You said that."

    Firefight Phoenix signing ()
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    stormfather (paraphrased)

    Does the plague on the Purelake has anything to do with the fact that the magic fish form symbiotic bonds with spren?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    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."

    stormfather [Alternate wording from ZenBossanova's report] (paraphrased)

    Another person asked about the plague in the Purelake.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    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.