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    Adam Horne

    I see people in the chat wanting you to elaborate a little bit more on Dalinar killing Elhokar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you haven't read Way of Kings Prime, one of the things that was interesting to me.. So if you go way back to Dragonsteel... this is Dragonsteel Pre-Prime, the version of Dragonsteel that I started when I was in high school.

    The central premise for Dalinar's character, who... he was in that book, was the person who was caught between his duty to his family and his duty to his country. So his brother dies and the new king... in the original, the one I did when I was a teen, I wasn't as good with these things back then. The new king was a baby, and so Dalinar's in that book kind of thing was how much do I take control as regent of this country and how much am I disenfranchising my nephew.

    That was less interesting than what I ended up doing in Way of Kings Prime, which is where I realized this is a way better conflict, if the nephew of Dalinar takes the throne and is a really bad king, just dreadful, and bad for everybody and then Dalinar's trapped between deciding how much he loves his family and is going to follow them and deciding how much he loves his country. And I put those two in conflict quite a bit through the course of the story until finally Dalinar duels and kills Elhokar.

    In that book they all have different names. Dalinar's is close, it's the same name but spelled differently, I believe. I don't even know what Elhokar's name is in that book. It might it might be Elhokar. The chat can tell us, but it's Elhokar. It's the same character.

    That was like heart wrenching and traumatic for Dalinar to have to go through that. And why did I not go that direction when I wrote the actual version of the book? It's a... it's a better book—I feel—if Dalinar has to continue to live with this thing, and if he legitimately, like, loves his nephew, and his nephew is trying. That makes the conflict just so much more heart wrenching, because in Way of Kings Prime—it's been a long time, guys. It has been 20 years since I have even really looked at that version of the book, but in that [version] I made it justifiable. I had to.

    Because if you're going to have a main character do something like that, readers have to dislike the person, right? And they've gotta be—I feel—on Dalinar side, unless we wanted a different arc, you could totally write a different arc for that, but in that version you get to the sense where  Elhokar has brought this upon himself, and I tweaked that by making him try harder, but just kind of be bad at it, which just led to a better arc, and it let me do things in future books where kind of Dalinar is... against his desires... he is seizing control of the throne, right. He is becoming the monarch and has become the monarch despite him claiming that he's not going to. It's just a better character treatment. You can point to a lot of flaws in Dalinar, but a big one is he is bad at delegation and he is bad at letting other people do things poorly when he thinks he could do them well. And even though he says he's not doing this, he slowly grabs power through the first three books until he's completely in control and Elhokar's been sidelined. And that's a flaw in Dalinar. 

    But it's also... if you were living in that kingdom, you are glad it happened, right? So you don't want Elhokar necessarily being in control, and it's supposed to... I feel like it just leads to better long term storytelling, the way that I did it in the finished version. But we still get the "Dalinar beats the tar out of Elhokar" scene in the in the first book so that you can get some of that still in the published version.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    Ezio della Torre

    Was Teft's death part of your plan from the book's inception or series's inception, or did you decide his fate while writing Rhythm of War?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Teft's fate was decided pretty early on, but these sorts of things I do leave wiggle room on. When you read Teft's first appearance—it's in Mythwalker, my ninth book that never got finished—his appearance in that book was built around this kind of character arc that eventually happened. This was baked into the original idea for Stormlight once I brought over Bridge Four and once I stuck Teft inBridge Four, from Mythwalker. But I do remain pretty flexible on these things. That is one that turned out working really well, and happening the way I'd intended for it to happen from the beginning.

    But... I mean, if you've read Way of Kings Prime, you'll know that there was a point in the outlining process, and even in writing that book, where Dalinar killed Elhokar, rather than him being killed by Moash. So, you can see that these things do change, these things bounce around, but yes, the Moash betrayal and the him killing Teft was an original <incarnation> of Way of Kings. So the original 2010 version of Way of Kings, it was part of that outline.

    There are things that have changed though, over the years. A big one's, of course, a lot of Adolin's arc is not in that. I go back to that one because Adolin was involved, but he was a much smaller character than he ended up being. And Adolin changing has caused all kinds of ripples through everything in large measure. For instance, all of the stuff with Maya was not in the original outline. This is stuff that I developed over time because I was not planning Adolin to have as big a role in the series as he ended up having. That's a good example of things I've changed over time. A lot of the Cosmere-aware stuff, I didn't know how much I would push on that, and it turns out I've pushed further than in the outlines I originally thought I would. Because when I was starting this, I still didn't know if people would jump onboard with this as much as they have.


    Reading Way of Kings Prime is a great way to see how things have changed since. The big changes you will see there between 2002 and 2010... I guess I wrote the book in 2009, so... in those seven years, you can see a lot of the transformations that the book and the world and the series went through. It's kind of nice. Those of you who've read it recently can probably remember more about what's changed than I do. I come back to the big ones, like that book had Unmade spiked with crystalline spikes, in the basement of the version of Urithiru before I changed it to what it is now, and that is just no longer in the books, right. Unmade getting spiked and being freed by spikes to the wall is not a thing. I'm sticking them in gemstones now, right, instead of spiking them to walls. I felt like the whole Hemalurgy thing we've covered well enough. But that was in the 2002 version.

    *Adam goes on a diatribe about how he'd like to see fanart of this*

    It was ten spikes too.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    Brett Roberts

    If Taravangian had another intellectually "brightest" day before his main event in Rhythm of War, could he have seen the existence of other forms of Investiture on Roshar? For example, would he have been able to recognize areas where there is use of Sand, Allomancy or Breath, or would those have been too small for him to notice?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That would have been too small for him to notice, good question, but yes. Too small, most likely. Like he could intuit the existence of these things and perhaps the means of making use of them, but specifics of where they are, that's gonna get dicey for what could happen there. But when he had his weird day, weirder things happened on that day than him noticing something like that. I would say, in general, no, he would not have gotten that granular.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    Jack Milson

    How many Awakening Commands are there? Is there a finite number, a finite but large number or infinite? Can you Awaken with sign language?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you can Awaken with sign language. I would say that there are an infinite number, would be my guess. It's either finite but very, very large or infinite. But they're gonna fall into groups as things tend to do in the Cosmere, I would say.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    The Aviar that we see in Sixth of the Dusk were all fruit eaters, they all have to eat the fruit that the grubs live in. However, Mraize's Aviar seems a lot more like a predator than a herbivore.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is!


    Did his species become extinct or is it a unique Aviar like Sak?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Neither. But yes, it is a carnivoristic Aviar. I will confirm that, which it's not confirming much, you guys already knew that. But that is indeed what is going on there.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    Is Kelsier in Fortnite is canon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is canon to Fortnite.

    Adam Horne

    *jokes* But you're saying those dances are not cosmere canon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's one of the emotes that's evasive maneuvers. It looks really cool with the mist cloaked tassels, but no, not canon. I know you asked that tongue-in-cheek.

    Probably canon to Fortnite, right? One of Fortnite's canon is all these people come to Fortnite and and hang around, and you know, shoot each other. So I would say that Kelsier is amazingly proficient at firearms for it being Era 1 book 1 Kelsier. Raises some questions how he knows how to floss and shoot a shotgun so well. 

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    Will you base a character on Adam [Horne] and how horrifically will he die?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Adam does need a character, I haven't put you in yet. Have I? So when I wrote The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, all of my brothers-in-law got cameos in the books and Adam has not yet had a cameo, and so we need to find a good cameo for Adam somewhere in the books. 

    Yeah, so how horrifically will he die? Well, Kathy, Adam is my assistant. I do not want him dead in any way. 

    Adam Horne

    I mean, I think it be funny.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He fetches me water, and things like that. Jane, his wife did end up in the Alcatraz books as the royal fashion consultant, and Kathy has ended up in books so we'll see. We'll see. Everybody eventually makes their way in. I'll have to leave a note to do something horrific to Adam. 

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    Avery Hinks

    Is there a canonical reason why Vasher and Vivenna changed their names to Zahel and Azure on Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it kind of comes into the fact that Vasher has gone through a bunch of name changes and there are a couple of answers to this. One is, in the Cosmere, like in a lot of like fantasy worlds, names and identity are just a pretty big deal, part of how the magic works is how you view yourself, and I like, in that instance, indicating that time has passed and the character has adopted a new name and things like this, it's just that's a thing.

    You've also probably noticed that behind the scenes in the Cosmere there are lots of different groups vying for control and power and things like this, and so going under a pseudonym's actually a pretty good idea. I guess an alias, they're not writing books, it's not pseudonyms, you know what I mean, going under an alias's generally a pretty good idea for just if you don't want attention from the wrong people.

    That said, I do have to balance this because, for instance, in Azure's case, you know, I picked something that Vivenna had, you know, blue had been associated with her in the previous book, so it's not a completely, that's partially for the reader's benefit, so it's easier for you to track who is who, just a little bit, and just a little bit easier to figure out who is who.

    But if run into someone like Felt, right? Felt doesn't care. He's not hiding from anybody. Felt is, you know, he's more like "I moved from Nebraska to Texas," right? "And now I'm living in Texas." That's more how he views it a little bit. He's not a secret agent (ooh, big spoilers). Felt just, you know, he moved, so he goes by the same name. And that's, you'll see some of that as well. If someone's going by an alias, I'm doing it to indicate one of those two things, usually.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    Daniel Greene

    If you could write a script for any superhero, who would you like to control a story for? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh what a great question. I did actually see a comment on YouTube, by the way, Daniel, where apparently in one of your videos, you're like, "Brandon made a really shrewd marketing move by putting Kelsier in Fortnite," and then I released my thing where I'm like: "Yeah, Donald [Epic Games Worldwide Creative Director] and I were hanging out, being like, hey, why don't we put Kelsier in Fortnite, we like, yeah, it'd be fun!"

    It was a super shrewd marketing move on my part to go to dinner with my friend. 

    It can be both. Yeah, we were actually chatting about my son wanting to put something in Fortnite, but can't decide. And you know we ended up with Kelsier instead. Dalin can still do something if he wants, but getting him pinned down on what he wants to do...

    So what superhero would I want to write for? I would most likely pick Superman because I feel like he is the most challenging to write for and make work, and I feel like my talents would match that pretty well, but it would probably be like a weird colored kryptonite story - like a red kryptonite thing where it's like "Superman's powers have been changed in a funky and interesting way," and also let's deal with why Superman stories can be so difficult; and write that.

    Obviously that would be a bad like film sort of thing, but it would work well in a running comic where it's one installment because it's so different from the norm. 

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    James Clifford

    Science question!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ohh science. Is it real science, or fake science?

    Adam Horne

    It is Brandon science.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Fake science!

    James Clifford

    With the discovery of anti-Investiture in Rhythm of War, would the correct form of anti-Investiture be usable to clear up the mess in the Sel Cognitive Realm. If so, would this completely destroy a splintered Shard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *laughs, coughs, and is otherwise stunned* That would not be a good idea. So why would that not be a good idea? So no, this would not clear up the problem. The problem that's going on in the Cognitive Realm in Sel is that a bunch of Investiture that should be in the Spiritual Realm has been packed into the Cognitive Realm instead, through a very weird circumstance of events. If you were to introduce a bunch of anti-Investiture of the right type there, you would just generate an explosion that would be a very bad thing. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, Investiture can't be either, so it's actually changing forms. It's going from Investiture into energy! Which you know, does not leave the system. So the investiture would eventually make its way back around, you can't destroy anything in the Cosmere, just like you can't destroy anything in our universe. But you can make it change forms. And so, what's going on there is just this hope by a certain individual that what has happened there will prevent the power from becoming self-aware.

    It's basically Odium being like "alright I just murdered you people, I don't wanna have to come back and do it again". So he's trying to figure out a way to make this happen. As it currently stands (again, these things can change when I write future books), it was partially happenstance that he took advantage of rather than something that he was able to set up very intentionally from the beginning, but he was definitely a part.

    YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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    Aria Burman

    What would the Unkalaki think of the Aiel and vice versa?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have this feeling that the Aiel... so the Aiel I have this feeling that they would really like Unkalaki, but I can't say for sure. I just get this feeling that the fact that the Unkalaki are going to share their water and shade with you really really easily and friendily, and they have some pretty cool water is probably going to appeal to the Aiel. What do the Unkalaki think? They think that all lowlanders think weirdly and behave weirdly, and I don't know that they'd think the Aiel are anymore weird than a lot of the lowlanders they meet.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    So, for those who don't know, I'm good friends with the director of Fortnite. Before he made this came, he made a smaller game called Infinity Blade--and we collaborated on some story things for that. (Curiously, he and art director Isaac went to school together, which is how I ended up meeting him.)

    Fast forward a decade or so, and one day he says to me, "Hey. We should put Kelsier in Fortnite." So here we are.

    I realize this probably isn't going to be earth shattering to most of you--I expect the audience who both reads the books and plays Fortnite to be somewhat small--but it was too neat not to pursue.


    Is it really only Kelsier? Or are you hiding anything else? As in, perhaps Vin too? Asking because the skins are usually like $20 and if there are more coming down the pipe i'd rather wait and buy the one from the character I like most (Vin in this case), because, well, I sadly can't afford to buy many of these. I understand if you can't say anything more, but it would be nice if you could confirm its only Kelsier :)

    Brandon Sanderson

    The deal allows them to make Vin in the future--but I don't know if they're planning to or not. So I'm glad you asked. I wouldn't be surprised to see her in the future--and though there has been not talks of it yet, because it's in the contract, I'd lay decent odds on it happening. (But it would be at least six months away, since it took around five months of working to get Kelsier in.)


    Ooh, a Vin skin!

    That makes me super curious about the process that went into putting Kelsier in the game. Do you know perhaps if there's any chance we could see the concept art that went into it after the Kelsier skin is out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd love to do that. I'll see if they'll let me.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it's finally out! Yes, we're doing Kelsier in Fortnite.

    So what's going on behind the scenes? Well, Donald Mustard (director of Fortnite) is a friend of mine. We worked on Infinity Blade together back in the day. So, he asked if I was interested in sticking Kelsier into the game--and I thought it was cool. So we've been working on that for a few months.

    Like I said (and several of you confirmed in this thread) it's not something I expect my general fanbase to go crazy over--but it's nifty, and I hope it will be fun for those of you who enjoy both properties. It's also been a blast to work with the Fortnite team.

    They'll release more, but don't expect a huge crossover event. It's just a little fun thing that I'm doing with my friend, who happens to have accidentally made one of the most popular games of all time.


    Are there going to be any Mistborn specific mechanics in the game? Like steelpushing or pewter vials to grant regeneration or something like that. I don't expect it to happen but it would be cool and also a new kind of thing for those who don't know about Scadrial Magic.

    Brandon Sanderson ยท

    No Mistborn-specific powers right now. (I hope to be able to work more with Epic on something like that in the future, though.)


    Will anything about this be considered Cosmere Canon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope canon here. Fortnite is all about crossovers these days, and is explicitly non-canon for all of them. It has its own canon, granted, about grabbing things from other universes--so in Fortnite this can be canon. But in our canon, the cosmere is a closed system, with no links to other universes.


    More as in more about the kelsier skin or more like other cosmere content?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sorry. I meant "More about this specific appearance of Kelsier in Fortnite." Don't expect other characters or things for now.


    Please tell me he has allomancy? I’d love to see the knights radiants in any open world game with their powers.

    Brandon Sanderson

    For now, this is just using Fortnite mechanics. I do have aspirations for more--and think it's not impossible that Epic and I will do something more like that in the future. But don't expect allomancy in Fortnite anytime soon.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    For the next [Mistborn] trilogy, will you do a 1.0 draft for the whole trilogy straight away, or will you do something more like:

    • Book 1 1.0

    • Book 1 2.0

    • Book 2 1.0

    • Book 1 3.0

    • Book 2 2.0

    • Book 3 1.0

    • Book 3 2.0

    • Book 1 4.0

    • Book 1 5.0

    • Book 1 release

    Brandon Sanderson

    What you wrote above is very close to what I'm likely to do--though I might not do the 3.0 of book one until the 2.0 of book two is done.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    So the Lost Metal will be done by this August and then released 16 months later? Why is that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In most of publishing, 24 months is average from turn in to publication. Revisions, designing the cover, proofreading, etc... They take time. In the past, because my books are so successful for the publisher, they've pushed hard to shrink that timeframe. But it's been really hard on my team, as there's so much to do.

    I've wanted for a long time to start getting back on a more normal schedule. Maybe not 24 months, but closer to 14 or 16. This will relieve a lot of pressure on the revisions, and make it feel less like my team is needing to work break-neck to get things done.


    Does this new emphasis on the more normal schedule affect your roadmap for the Cosmere as a whole (like as it's outlined in 2020 SoS for instance) or was the switch to a more reasonable publishing schedule already part of the plan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We'll see. Stormlight 5, for example, is likely to still be on a pretty difficult schedule for everyone--it depends on how long it takes to write, and how much revision it needs. 2023 is where we really want to hit, but I'd be more willing to let this one slide (as it's the last of the cycle, and I don't want to rush it) than I have been with previous Stormlight books.

    That said, the main way I plan to get ahead on things is to start co-authoring more non-cosmere books, like the Apocalypse Guard series, which I'll likely try to release after Skyward is finished. Also, Era Three is going to have an odd publication cycle anyway, with me writing it more like I did Era One. So...who knows? It's too early really to say.


    What was different with the writing process between Era One and Era Two?


    Not Brandon, but if I remember correctly, Era One was somewhat unique because he sketched out the entire trilogy before publishing the first book, which left room for some really cool foreshadowing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    /u/reuben-625 is correct--though it went farther than that. Because I was newer, and had lots of lead time to get books ready, I wrote the entire trilogy in rough draft form before polishing and publishing the first one. Interview ()
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    Also we have the Death by Pizza, it's not Death by Pizza any longer, Song of the Dead?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah, Song of the Dead. Yeah, that's still in revision and things, yeah. Maybe someday, well I'm hoping someday. Right now, I mean the things that are looking really good, the Reckoners novellas are done and turned in and being recorded for audio, and those turned out really well. And the first of the Skyward novellas that Janci wrote is just spectacular, I really like it. If you guys like the Skyward books, it's from FM's viewpoint. It kind of takes a character that I had done very little with and does a lot more with her. I'm really excited for those to come out, have some more expansion to some of those worlds and settings and stories. We're working on getting those going. Interview ()
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    We remember that you wanted to write a sci-fi story and send it to several magazines to see what happened with that. Well, we were wondering if in the end did you manage to sell it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did not manage to sell it. Now, I'll put it in the non-cosmere collection when we put it together. It was flash fiction; it was only 500 words long. So it's very not like my normal style. I'm not apparently good enough at flash fiction to sell without my name attached, but I haven't given up hope. I still want to write some more stories under this author's name--the pseudonym-- and see if I can get them published. I don't know if you heard, last night I talked about it on the stream, one of the things we'll be doing while I'm working on Era 3 of Mistborn in a couple years here is we'll likely be releasing the non-cosmere collection. All of my basically science-fiction/horror or whatever, the stories that are not in the cosmere that also aren't Legion, the Stephen Leeds stories which were bound in their own collection. And I want to have a few new things for that, so it's not just stories that have been published before. So these are the stories that I'm like, I'm going to send this off and see if it sells, and things like that. You'll be able to see.

    My flash fiction piece is super goofy, so it's not that surprising that it didn't sell, but I'm still very proud of it. Mostly I got confusion in my rejections, they're like, "We didn't get it, it didn't make sense to us." So we'll have to see if it makes sense to all you guys. 500 words is not very much to do a story based around, so we'll see. I wrote another short story to send out. Unfortunately, it's kind of mediocre; it's only kind of okay. Again, science-fiction has one cool concept executed mediocrely, so I don't think that one's going to sell. I have to write a real banger, I have to write something really great and then secretly get it published. But when I'm going to do that is the big question. I have no idea where I'm going to slip in time to write mini-stories that aren't supposed to be by me. This is partially just to get experience so I can tell my students, "Hey, it still works," or "It still is hard." And lo and behold it was still hard, it took like eight months to get through all of the markets and get replies to them and stuff, just for that little flash fiction piece. Interview ()
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    It's a random question, because we have chickens on Roshar, the other thing is are there cats in Shinovar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So there were at least at one point cats in Shinovar. Whether cats are still there or not, you'll have to wait for book 5 to discover. But cats did make the jump. If they exist, they didn't make it past the mountains very far, but you'll have to see. Interview ()
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    So they were asking, because they also know that we have the Mistborn Adventure Game, and the explanation for not having a role playing game for Stormlight is because it's not yet finished and it didn't make sense, but maybe for the moment that it's at least halfway, would you consider [it]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I would definitely consider it at Stormlight 5. That would be a really good time to do an RPG. So it's probably time, if we haven't been talking about it, to go talk to some people and try to build one. I've been really lucky with the people we've worked with, because Call to Adventure turned out to be just great, it's a ton of fun. And the people at Crafty Games have just been delightful to work with; I really like them. We've ended up with some really great stuff.

    Doing an RPG, the big question would be do we do another indie RPG, do we ask Wizards of the Coast if they want to do a D&D tie-in Stormlight? I don't know, I'd have to get some feedback from fans on what they would want, do they want us to do it in the Crafy system, which one is most interesting to people? You guys can ask around, I think I'll probably start asking that question of fans in general and trying to gather some feedback so we know.

    Yeah, I think Wizards of the Coast would be closer to a Magic the Gathering cosmere game.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mmhmm, yeah. Well, you know since they're doing Lord of the Rings, it's not impossible now that we could get a Stormlight magic expansion or something like that. It's probably going to depend on how things like Lord of the Rings happen and whatnot. I'm watching all that to see how fan reactions are because fans are both excited and mad, which they seem to always be every time Wizards of the Coast does anything, and I'm not sure if they're going to settle on excited or on mad. The problem is Stormlight isn't on the size-level of something like Lord of the Rings. Not impossible, I don't think, so we'll see what happens. Interview ()
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    We know that for example we have, I think it's Horneater for the next Kickstarter about Rock. And the other question that sometimes people ask is when will be the novella between The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance and if maybe you can say who's going to be the main character or not yet.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, no I can talk a little bit about it. So, it was going to be Lopen. But in Dawnshard I did a really solid job with his character arc, the sort of things I was planning to do with him and I feel like if I went back and did a novella with him now, it actually just wouldn't land very well. I managed to get it into Dawnshard and it really works and fits. That doesn't mean I won't do one focused about him later but it means that doing one early on is probably not going to happen. I might still do the thing I've always wanted to do, if I do the novella between 1 and 2, I might still do the Lopen mini-story about him being king, because he jokes about that all the time. And so now that I know it's not Lopen, I'm kind of searching through and being like, okay who's it going to be? Very high on the list of options is Teft, and I'd have to look and see, is there really a lot I can add to his arc or will it just be things you've already known? It's tricky at that point because I don't want to do anything that--the danger is I do something that would then [have] really neat implications being addressed in future books, and then it's not because I'm writing it after the fact. And that might drive me to go further afield to somebody who's much more of a smaller character, if that makes sense. We'll see what I end up doing. There are ideas I have, but none of them are really popping out to me right now. Interview ()
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    Now that maybe we are going to have the [first half] from the Stormlight Archive, maybe will you have an art book for the cosmere or the Stormlight Archive, or maybe a companion? I think Rhythm of War was amazing. It has such detail and everything that happens, and all the science behind it, that it makes it feel super real. And we were thinking will we ever get as well--like you know for Discworld that you have The Science of Discworld books, maybe we'll need that in the end for the cosmere as well.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a good suggestion, that's a very good suggestion. I'm a little gun-shy, I realize, on this because Wheel of Time did the White Book. And I know that there were those--let's just say those in the community and those among who created it, that were disappointed with it, which is part of why Harriet spent so much time working on the encyclopedia. I think that made me more timid than I need to be, because the various ones for George Martin's series have been very good, and the ones for Discworld have just been fantastic.

    And so you're right, it's probably something we should start putting together. Some sort of, you know here is the "first era" of the cosmere and here is your companion piece for reading it, here is a glossary of all the characters. If there's some way I could make those spoiler-free, that you could look up an entry and only you know--I wonder if it could come with those glasses that are red and and blue and so you can only read the normal entry unless you've read a certain book and then it tells you the other parts and things like that. Would that be too much of a gimmick? I'm kind of in love with that idea, so that you could read about people without being spoiled. Interview ()
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    We were wondering, I know that you always told us that it's not necessary to read the rest of the cosmere but after what happened in The Rhythm of War, could you still say--and potentially in Mistborn Era 3 now--could you consider that maybe there will be a moment where you might need, for the sake of enjoying the whole thing, and all the Easter eggs, and the story behind the story, maybe it's needed to have a small background?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you want to enjoy the Easter eggs, then yes. But I still maintain Mistborn Era 4 marks when you are going to be completely lost if you haven't read everything else. Things that happen in Rhythm of War, I think you can understand conceptually, even if you don't know the other players. If you were telling a story about America during the Vietnam War, and you knew about the war happening in Vietnam and kind of the implications on the American citizens who didn't want to go to war and things like that, you don't necessarily have to read the book that is taking place in Vietnam to understand all of that. It would help, but if the focus is on--if you can outline what people need to know in a few sentences, I don't know how spoilery you want me to go, I'm trying to use a metaphor that's not my books.

    We're trying to keep it non-spoilery.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, and so if you in this situation were to have somebody who said, "There's a war going on, it's very unpopular, and lots of people's loved ones are dying for reasons they don't think are justified and legit," you could know that and still have this whole story happen over here. That's the sort of thing that I believe is happening at the end of Rhythm of War. You're learning a few things about the cosmere yes, but you can listen off one, two, or three points, and you get those points and you understand that there is a foreign sort of thing going on that is affecting what we're doing. But you only have to know those points for its effect on the story of the Stormlight Archive. It's a little more involved than I've gone in the past, but I still maintain that could read only the Stormlight Archive and you won't be lost, you won't feel like you're not getting part of the story. You will feel, I hope, that there's a lot more to explore and understand if you read further. Interview ()
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    So currently, the books from the cosmere are pretty different, maybe, from the things that you thought would be the cosmere, like thirty years ago when the young Brandon was starting to write, and we are curious about how, or if you expected it to be like this when you started?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, I definitely didn't. Remember that when I very first started, I didn't have the cosmere, right? Back when I was writing White Sand Prime and Sixth Incarnation of Pandora, and Star's End and Knight Life, all of those early books, all I had was a desire to do a big epic. Even when I wrote Elantris, I put Hoid into it more as an Easter egg than as a thing that is going to be some big thing. It wasn't until writing Mistborn years later, not even Mistborn Prime, the actual Mistborn, that the cosmere started to take shape. And at that point, so that's 2004, at that point I outlined Era 1, what is now Era 3, and Era 4. And Era 4 was big galactic kind of space interaction between all the different worlds. So by then, I was very excited by the idea of—I had the shape of it. But even then I wasn't planning to write Sixth of the Dusk, I hadn't written Shadows for Silence, right? All I knew basically then was Sel, Scadrial, Taldain, and Roshar. And I knew those were going to be involved somehow and so I was working on the various different Shards that were on those planets, but that leaves a lot of Shards right? If you add those all up, that's what, seven or so Shards worth of people? Suddenly it's like wait, that's only seven of the sixteen, where's everybody else, right? And counting that seven of the sixteen are two dead ones. I knew that it would be more expansive but I didn't know where I would be going and what I would be doing and that sort of stuff.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    It's a plot point in Hero of Ages that gender-neutral pronouns were used for the aforementioned Hero because they were neither male nor female:

    The prophecies always used the gender-neutral, he thought. So that they could refer to either a man or a woman, we assumed. Or . . . perhaps because they referred to a Hero who wasn’t really either one?

    However, even this paragraph uses the male pronoun "he".

    In Shadows of Self, it's again brought up (by MeLaan, this time) that Sazed is not quite either gender:

    “Not really. Wow, you blush easily, don’t you? I’d have thought you’d find this natural, considering that your God is basically a hermaphrodite at this point. Both good and evil, Ruin and Preservation, light and dark, male and female. Et cetera et cetera.”

    But the books continue to use the male pronouns (though normally they use Capitalized Male Pronouns or just the name "Harmony").

    So my questions would be:

    1. What pronouns should be used for Sazed/what gender does Sazed identify as: he/him? they/them? Or does Sazed not particularly care and he, she, they, etc all work just fine?
    2. If Sazed's pronouns would indeed more accurately be they/them, might we see characters in Era 3 starting to use They/Them in place of He/Him, as Basin society grows more aware of this topic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sazed always saw himself as a "He." So a lot of the records refer to him that way. He'd accept they, though, and might even see himself a little more this way now. What you suggest here is something I've considered--with him having two Shards, they is a good pronoun for other reasons too.

    Miscellaneous 2016 ()
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    Slowswift (paraphrased)

    Could you take a bunch of metal (say about a few cubic inches, I don't know, I'm bad at math) and condense it to about something the size of a pill, a la black hole (I don't know, I'm bad at science too)?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I asked Brandon at LTUE today, and he said something like "Yes, you would be able to burn [the denser bead] longer." I take this to mean that the dense bead would have the same burn length as the original-density block. Interview ()
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    We are more or less sure that, once you finish the last book from Wax and Wayne, this is going to have kind of an impact, maybe, on everything?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes and no. Wax and Wayne as a series, entirely, is more focused on the characters than the cosmere. Which is different from Era Three. Era Three, while it's very focused on characters, is more cosmere-focused. Remember, Wax and Wayne is the series I interjected. And I realized, as I was writing it, there were a lot of things I needed to do in it (that's good I started it), but they are mostly setup. You will get done with Wax and Wayne Four, you will know who Trell is. You will know what trellium is. You will know what's been happening there. But what it's not gonna do is give you definitive, cosmere-wide, large-scale changes. It is more going to be setting up and building for the big things that are coming next. So don't put too much pressure on the poor little Wax and Wayne series; they really are about Wax, Wayne, Steris, and Marasi, and kind of uncovering this stuff. You could consider it the buildup and prologue to the second large era of the Cosmere, if that makes sense. (Which, the second era of the Cosmere is basically going to be: third era Mistborn, second era Stormlight.)

    YouTube Weekly Updates 2021 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    In the comments, I saw that one of you was asking about my prewriting process [for Wax and Wayne Four]. In short, for this one, what I did is: there were three big steps. The beginning was, I wrote down Character, Setting, Plot together in a document, and I then did a subheading for each of the main characters. For this book, it'll be Wax, Wayne, Steris, and Marasi. And I said, "All right; what are their character arcs? How do they change? What do they want in this book? What's going on with them?" And that was the first pillar I wanted to hit; I wanted to make sure that everybody was working and that I knew where they were all going and where they would end. Because this is the last book of that sequence, and I want the ending to be spectacular.

    Next part was setting. In this, mostly it was developing the magic system, making sure that the things that I'm doing with it, the new ideas that are coming in and developments, are in line with the general goals for the Cosmere and for Scadrial, and that everything that I wanted to do worked within the bounds of the magic, and bouncing that off of my team and making sure that I was explaining things well, why things worked like they did.

    And then the last part was to construct the actual plot. This is: what is happening, what are people wanting to do? How am I weaving in character arcs to this large construct that is the plot of the book?

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Does Kaladin have a mixed heritage. Like maybe Yolish and Rosharan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One thing I wanted to be very careful about in writing the Stormlight books is to stray away from people needing some kind of past or heritage to be special—it's okay for this to be for some characters, but it becomes a crutch. So your answer is no, he doesn't have much secret to his heritage. (Though his mother grew up wealthy for a darkeyes, and that's a little odd.)

    YouTube Weekly Updates 2021 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    In the comments last week and weeks before, we had a lot of questions about the Dawnshard audiobook. Where is that? I can't tell you when, but it should be coming out sometime this summer. We're looking which publishers to put it with, and things like that. We actually already recorded the audio; we had Michael and Kate do that. (I think it's both of them; him doing Lopen and her doing Rysn.) Regardless, we have that audio; we are ready. It's gonna take us a little bit, because we want to find the right distribution place. But it's coming.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    Mare's Flower.

    *a tattoo of the Ghostblood symbol*


    Can you confirm either yea or nay?

    Ben McSweeney

    I had not thought this was the case before, but Brandon don’t tell me everything and some of what he tells me changes over the years (we used to have a hard rule with fur on Roshar, for instance). And I was not part of the design process for this symbol, it was handed to me ready-to-go when I put it on the Shallan page.

    I would not be surprised to learn what we have here is a symbol based on the picture of the flower, that whatever flower she had a picture of, it had three petals of a somewhat diamond shape.

    But I don’t actually know, and I’ll have to ask around. Might be a RAFO.


    What's the fur rule?

    Ben McSweeney

    Waaaay back at the start, the rule was "no fur" in designs, full stop. The idea being that any fur-bearing creatures were too rare to be used for their hides. At some point he relaxed that rule... fur is still relatively rare and expensive (I think) but it's not unheard of.

    General Reddit 2021 ()
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    I don't know if it was intentional, but I realized that the Kholin colors match BYU (Brandon Sanderson's university) and the Singer colors match University of Utah (BYU's rival).

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. Well, I hadn't noticed that.

    The problem is that I'm a Cornhusker, at least when it comes to football. No offense to BYU, but you don't grow up in Nebraska during the Osborn era without some side effects. :)

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
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    Will you delve more into the Threnody system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do intend to do more in the Threnody system. If I can get to it, there is a novel I want to write set on Threnody. I have, I would say, 30% of an outline, right now, for that book. Whether I'll have time for it or not is, like most other side projects, up in the air. But I do think that something will happen there, eventually. Isaac has a book that he's outlined that he would like to set on Threnody, because Isaac's gonna take a stab at writing some Cosmere fiction. If you don't know, Isaac is my art director, and basically my first collaborator in the Cosmere, way back on Mistborn. He was one of my very first beta readers and did all the maps and things, and now works for me full time.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
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    Gerardo Hop

    Have you watched the fan-made video games of Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have not. I look at fan art, but I don't generally read fan fiction, and I'm probably not gonna play a lot of fan games. Though I'm not against either of these things, as long as they're fan works, not-for-profit sort of stuff covered by our policy. The reason being: number one, I'm immersed in these worlds already, and what I don't need to do is read someone's fanfic, and in twenty years be like, "Hey didn't I write that thing about that thing? I'll put that in." And then it have come from a fanfic. Just, don't really want that to happen. And I don't know enough about video games legality and stuff, but if we made a game and the game people were like, "Hey, you lifted this element right from us," I just wouldn't want to be in that position.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
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    Are you going to be doing another spoilery livestream?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that we will be doing another spoilery livestream. When do you want to do another spoilery livestream? We could do one next month, or we could do one the month after. We could say they're an every-six-months thing. So the next one in July. June or July.

    Let's start with that. We're gonna do spoilerific livestreams every six months. They are much harder on me, because I have to pay much better attention to what I'm saying. But they are a lot of fun. I could imagine a world where we get to them three times a year, or something like that, but let's just start with that.

    Adam Horne

    The spoiler stream was December 17th. So, June.

    Brandon Sanderson

    June. So it is. That actually works well, because the spoiler streams can be near my birthday every year. Koloss Head Munching Day. Maybe we don't do it on the first Thursday, and we move it back.

    Let's just do full spoilers. What do people want? Do you want full Cosmere spoiler, but no spoilers for non-Cosmere? At some point we should do a Cytoverse (as the fans call it), the Skyward spoiler stream. But only after Book Four is out would that make a ton of sense. Maybe we'll just do full Cosmere. Because the only non-Cosmere stuff people would care about spoilers are probably Skyward and Reckoners. Let's do, like, a Skyward and Reckoners one later. Because we do have some things in the Reckoners world coming our way, the novellas that Steven Bohls is writing. And then we have the Skyward stuff. We will do, maybe, a Mistborn exclusive one after Wax and Wayne Four, with only Mistborn.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
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    How often do you go by your various subreddits?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends on what I'm doing in the day, and things like that. I have not been by lately, so I have not responded to a lot of Reddit comments lately. I apologize for that. I try to, at least, glance at the front page and see what things are big. I would like this to be a daily thing, and sometimes it is, but it's not always. Again, it depends on what stuff I'm doing.

    It is still the best way to get a response from me, but my answer rate is probably under a third these days, I would say. Plus, there are some people who ask a lot of questions on Reddit, and it makes me less want to do it, I'll be honest, when I see the same person has asked a question every day for a month, because I don't feel that's a good use of my time. I think a good use of my time is to give everybody a little bit where I can, and a bad use of my time is to engage deeply. Just because I don't have a lot of time; not that I dislike any of you guys. And some of you ask really good questions, and I find myself answering anyways, because hey, this is a smart question that this person asked.

    I don't want my Reddit thing to be eighty questions from hardcore cosmere theorists who have been asking two a day for a month, and then five questions from a person who legitimately wants to reach out and have a brief but meaningful interaction with me. I much prefer the second, just for time reasons, even though I know the deep cosmere guys, like, you guys are part of why I'm successful. You guys talking about it, you guys caring about the fact that I was connecting the cosmere, I don't want to disparage that at all or make you feel bad for asking questions. Because I love that, I love that you are so into it, I love taking the time when I can to answer questions. I just have a whole lot of things to balance, and it gets rough sometimes.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
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    Adam Horne

    What are you anticipating the length of the books for [Mistborn] Era Three and Era Four?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Era Three will go back to Era One lengths. The goal is, once I finish Stormlight Five, to write all three books in Era Three together, like I did for Era One. And this means that the releases in between might be kind of other sorts of things. Basically, I'm gonna have to take three years and write those books before we release any of them. And that'll be great for continuity, and for a lot of cool reasons, but it means that... 2023 is hopefully Stormlight Five. (I say "hopefully" because, again, Stormlight Five is the end of a series, so it is possible of all of them that one takes longer. We'll see.) And then, after Stormlight Five, then the releases will probably be some things for a couple of years until I get Mistborn ready.

    One of these things is likely to be a non-Cosmere collection; a collection of all my short fiction that is not Cosmere and not Legion. So all of your Defending Elysiums and things like that, collected in one collection, like we did with Arcanum Unbounded. There is a decent chance that I will be getting The Apocalypse Guard into shape, at long last, and releasing that with Dan Wells working with me on those. There is a decent chance that we'll have a prose version of Dark One, because Dan and I are working on that, but we'll see. Who knows. And then there's the perpetual project that I've really started to think that is probably going to happen, where White Sand of all my unpublished novels is the strongest, and I think that if I put it through my current revision process, I'd get a really strong revision, send it to beta readers, and put it through another really strong revision, it would be of publishable quality. I would generally update it to match the events of the graphic novels, and then we would release a prose version, probably, that is the same as the graphic novels. But we'll see. We'll see if that actually happens. For now, we do have the collection of the three graphic novels coming out soon-ish, I hope. And it's looking really nice; Isaac's been putting a ton of work into that.

    So, those are all things that you could see in the interim, between. What you're not gonna get is a Mistborn novel or a Stormlight novel for a number of years, as I work on the Mistborn books. In a perfect world, I'm writing Elantris Two and Three then, as well. So I get done with those five books, each of which I plan at 200,000 words (which is the length of Elantris and the original Mistborn trilogy). Which, when I work on a Stormlight book, I do 400,000 to 500,000 words in eighteen months. And so, we would see how these other ones would turn out. One a year, plus change, basically. And then I would jump to Stormlight six.

    So, that's a long-term plan. I still have to finish Wax and Wayne Four, and Stormlight Five, and Skyward Four. Which, I am finishing three series in a row. The one I am most worried about, obviously, is Stormlight. I don't know if that'd be obvious, but that's the highest stakes. And beyond that, it's the one that has some of the biggest implications for the cosmere at large, and things like that. Like, I am not terribly worried about Wax and Wayne Four, partially because I outlined the three that came after Alloy of Law really solidly, and the outline stuff I've been sending out for this last one, everyone is liking in the company, and it seems like it's a very... Like, the original trilogy idea I had for those three seems to be working. And Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning both worked really well, and this one is in that same vein, kind of bringing things together. And so, I'm not really worried about it. I think it's gonna be really strong, and people are really gonna like it. Skyward Four, again, the stakes are just lower. Skyward Three was a tough revision; there was a lot of work to do on that one. But, if I do write Skyward Four this year, then I have plenty of time to work on Skyward Four's revision, because it's probably not scheduled until, like, spring of 2023. Spring or summer, even, summer 2023, before Stormlight Five. And so basically, the revision time on both Wax and Wayne and that are gonna be much bigger than my revision time on Skyward Three.

    The time crunch is over for a little bit. It's just: can I squeeze these in before the looming battleship that is Stormlight Five comes sailing into port, and it's all hands on deck.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
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    Do you have a favorite of the Mistborn books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't really have a favorite, though I think Bands of Mourning is probably the strongest of those. Though, the first original Mistborn might be a contender, as well. It depends. See, my prose and storytelling ability has gotten better over the years, and Bands really had a bunch of things come together that I like to do and I think worked really well. The issue is that the story for Mistborn One is more epic and is, in a lot of ways, more novel. And because of that, it's the progenitor. So, I don't know. But I don't really pick favorites of my books, generally.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I had a good day working on Wax and Wayne Four today, doing the outlining. Still doing that; probably through a chunk of next week, I will be working on the outline. And then we will take off and write. My biggest worry about this book is that I want to make sure... I know you guys all would love this, but I want to make sure it doesn't go too, too long. It is the last in the sequence, and it could easily go double the length of the other ones. And I want to try to prevent that, because I still have to write Skyward Four. If it goes too long, I will not be able to write Skyward Four before Stormlight Five. That is kind of my time crunch sort of thing. We'll see. You can watch along on the progress bars, but I will warn you, 100K is unlikely to be the length of this one, even though I might start the progress bar there. We probably out to start it more at 120, understanding that 150 is pretty likely.

    YouTube Livestream 30 ()
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    Gamesound Finn

    Do you know that there is a champion in League of Legends that is basically Mistborn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. I know that there are several League of Legends professional players who have based names off of characters of mine, and stuff. Some have actually contacted me first and said "hey, is it okay if I do this?" Which is really cool.

    I do know the League of Legends people are fans. They invited me, one time, to come in and tour, and I was too busy on that specific tour. But I always find homages and things like this in games to be very flattering. Like the fact that you can find Kelsier's bag of coins in World of Warcraft, and various places you can find mistcloaks. I was playing that game Enter the Gungeon, and they have the Windgunner gun you can get, which is actually a sword gun. I like stuff like that. If you ever are a game dev making a game... (This is not permission for you to use my IP in a way that would be anything other than an homage, or things like that; I have to be careful about things like that. Sometimes I say, "Yeah, go for it," and then we find out that there's a trilogy of games based on my books that we didn't know about.) I like homages like that. I find them fun.