Recent entries

    Miscellaneous 2011 ()
    #1851 Copy


    Do the political relationships between Idris and Hallandren have a model in the real world? Do you think authors of fantasy are free to deal with current political issues in their work or is that something of a no-go for you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In fantasy, we can often approach things like this in a way that is non-threatening. We can change things a little bit and focus in a little bit more on the issue that is interesting to us. I won't say that I never do this, though again character and story are most important, but what I write about grows out of what I'm interested in.

    With Idris and Hallendren, I noticed in my own work that I'd been painting religion in a somewhat less than favorable light in recent books; this is partially because I as a religious person think that the misuse of religion is one of the most purely evil things that can happen in the world. So I thought I wanted to play off of some of those sensibilities, and I built what I did in Warbreaker in part to actively show a different side of things. And when I was writing that book, the politics of the United States' invasion of certain countries and other things going on were not something that anyone could really ignore. So I would say that there are themes that grew out of that.

    I didn't write the book to make a political statement. Yet at the same time the potential political statements of "Think twice about what you're doing" and of the nature of war and what it can do is something that I'm sure grew out of my own thoughts on the issues.

    Miscellaneous 2007 ()
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    Robert Thompson

    Regarding Elantris, I read a while back that you had no intentions of writing any sequels, but then you had a change of heart. I know that you've been busy with a lot of other projects, but has there been any progress at all on a possible follow-up, or maybe ideas you could share on an Elantris sequel that have been bouncing around in your head?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I doubt I will do a sequel that begins just after Elantris ends, at least not with the same characters and in the same place. There are lots of ideas I want to explore in the world of Elantris, though. I might do something about the Seons, or focus on a different culture, or write about something that happens many years after the story of Elantris.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
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    Is the plan still for ten books [for the Stormlight Archive]? How much ahead are you with the overall plan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The plan is still for ten books, which is two arcs of five. The first five are very well plotted and nailed down in my head. The back five, I know the endings of each of those, but I’m not 100% sure on all the elements. Once I finish the first five, I will sit down and create the second outline in much more detail. Because they are divided in my head in such a way that they are two smaller arcs that have a big gap between them, I’m really focused on the first five right now.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    All right, I'm gonna pull upon the cloud here, and I'm gonna go to my archive, and let's see what I can find in here that I have outlines for that I haven't written.

    There's one I know of for sure. I'm not gonna tell you what that one is. It's a secret project. One that I haven't talked about.

    I don't know if we count Death By Pizza. I have a full outline for that. But that's a book I didn't write, and then I passed the worldbuilding off to Peter Orullian, who was writing a book based on it. Not using my outline, because the outline had some problems. But that would probably be number two.

    Dark One became a graphic novel. So I don't know if you count that. That's, like, half of one.

    Starburner would be number four-ish. That's the first full outline that doesn't have a book attached to it right now.

    Don't know if you count Stormlight Five. The outline for Stormlight Five is very detailed. Six through Ten is less detailed; I do have them, but they're more like a paragraph or two about each book, so I wouldn't count them as a full outline.

    Five in my "Novels to Write Someday" one. Which, most of them, you guys haven't heard about. One's the magic that uses kites; I've talked about that before.

    I've got "Totally Not A Rewrite Of Episode I" that I wrote nine years ago. I just could not help it.

    I have the five I mentioned earlier. In addition, in their own folders, I have I Hate Dragons. (Which I actually outlined the whole I Hate Dragons book, but I only wrote the little piece of it that was a writing exercise.) I have... six.

    Six plus five, so eleven outlines in my Novels to Write Someday. And then two half ones that I passed on to someone else. And then all the Stormlight and Mistborn and things like that that don't quite count. So there you go, eleven. It's eleven only, right now. That's not very many. I would say that I've got at least that many in my head, maybe a few more.

    Oh, and Secret Project, so that's twelve. And all of those are Secret Projects in a way, I guess. You've heard about some of them. One of them is The Lurker, which became Adamant, which I wrote one novella of, but I have the outlines for the rest.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    And they're kind of just for me. Because they're the paintings of the Heralds, which are characters that I know and have been telling stories in my head about for twenty years. But you don't know 'em very well. (You know Nale a little bit.) But most of the Heralds, you're like, "Who are these people? Why do you have these awesome pictures of people that aren't in the books?" Well, that's because they will be in the books, and they are the people that I wanted paintings of. Selfish.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
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    Is the in-world The Way of Kings meant to be the exact opposite of The Prince by Machiavelli?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. That is because, if you read The Prince by Machiavelli, it doesn't deserve quite the reputation it has. But it is meant to be an opposite, in many ways, to the "ends justify the means" philosophy that we kind of cliff-notes put upon The Prince. The Prince has got a lot more depth to that discussion that at least I thought before I read The Prince. But it is supposed to be a counterpoint to that idea, the ends justify the means. A counterpoint to that concept is, "What if the means are the point? Then the end will not justify them, because the means are more important in many ways than the point." So it is yes, but it's also no.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
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    You've mentioned that Rhythm of War has a sequence that you've had in your head for a long time. Any other scenes (without spoilers) from Stormlight Archive that you are excited to have in the story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a scene in Book Two that is one of these other foundational scenes, but I can't say it without giving spoilers about Book Two. Happens near the end of Book Two. There's a lot of them. So, the thing is, most of these are gonna be in Stormlight because Stormlight Archive is the book I started planning and then had in my head, the series, for ten years without being able to write it. Mistborn, I designed, outlined, and then wrote. And I'm really excited by how Mistborn turned out. But the original Mistborn, they don't have any scenes that I was planning for a decade, because I basically came up with the story and executed it. (Though I had done the magic system in a previous book, Mistborn Prime, which we'll someday release.)

    So, a lot of these are in Stormlight. They're sprinkled all across Stormlight. There's one in Book Five, there's one in Book Ten, there's one in Book Eight. And these are just things when I originally conceived the Stormlight Archive that I was really excited to get to, and now have had to wait twenty years to write these scenes. So it's very fulfilling to finally be able to write some of these things. Because I wrote Way of Kings Prime, and then had to stop and not write Stormlight for seven years. So it built in my head with all of these things that I wanted to do.

    There are some really cool scenes for Era Three of Mistborn that I've been waiting now probably for over a decade at this point to be able to share with you. So once I'll be able to get to that, then that'll be really exciting. But there aren't any from Wax and Wayne, because I conceived and executed Wax and Wayne. I thought of it and then wrote it, rather than having these decade-long waits to finally get the story written.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I assign one day a week to not do writing things and just do other stuff. That day, recently, a lot of that time (Thursdays) has been dedicated to a video game project, which I'm not at liberty to say what it is yet, I'm sorry. But that I've been working on for the last year. Some day that'll get announced.

    Travis Gafford Interview ()
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    Is there gonna be a cyberpunk Mistborn trilogy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have toyed with it. It's gonna depend if I'm ahead enough on things. If I am ahead enough on things, I will do an era between the 1980s and the future era. Those are cornerstones that I can't get rid of. I could or could not do a cyberpunk, a near-future science fiction. It's gonna depend on how things are looking once I'm around working on the back five Stormlight books.

    Travis Gafford Interview ()
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    Mark Zimmerman

    One of the things I'm most excited about with this book [Rhythm of War] has been what you described as being a foundational scene that you got to write that you've been thinking of forever. In the Cosmere and in your writing, has there been anything that you've done on that level? You have huge reveals and awesome scenes all over the place, but has there been one that's been cooking for so long and then you finally got to put it on the page? Or is this the first time you got to do that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, the first one of these was Kaladin taking the Shardblade at the end of Words of Radiance. That was the first really big one that I had been planning for a long time. Even stretches back to some things in Way of Kings Prime that I never got to write, because I never wrote the second book of that series. So that is one of those moments that just have been planned forever.

    Most of these are Stormlight or Dragonsteel. Because Mistborn did not have as long of a cooking phase. So while there's cool moments in it, it's not like I spent ten years planning them. I spent, like, two years planning them. And so the ones for... there's one in Words of Radiance, there's one in this book, and there's one at the end of Book Five. (And there's one in Book Ten, also, but there's a bunch of them in Stormlight, the back five.) In the first five, we've got one in this book. (You'll know when you get to it. I think you'll know when you get to it.) And there's one in the next book that I first thought of and tried playing with an outline of... boy, it was, like, '98 or '99, before I even started Prime. After Five, we'll have a lot to talk about about that moment. But you'll find one in this book.

    Travis Gafford Interview ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually am working on a project right now with someone that I am under NDA for (but a fairly large developer) where I am just providing lore for them and learning about how you write a game. They actually have writers on staff who are actually writing the game, and I am providing the lore. And I just get to sit in the meetings and listen and find out how people write games.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    So, Rysn's Dawnshard was totally used with Surgebinding to make the Dawncities right? E.g. the giant windbreaks in Kholinar that everyone wonders "How did they make those?" that would seem outside the power-level of Radiant soulcasting.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's just say this is a linguistic connection I expected people to make.

    Also, creation of the Dawncities (and Urithiru) is beyond the scope of what a Radiant, or even a group of them working together, could create via Soulcasting. (Though note, it's not beyond the scope of what Surgebinding itself could do.)

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Does that mean Rysn is now immortal?

    Is a Dawnshard a Shard along the same lines as Odium/Honor or is it a combination of 4 of that type of shard? Or are Dawnshards entirely separate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO on most! But the Dawnshards predate the Shattering, so they're something other than traditional Shards. Similar, but distinct in some ways.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Why didn't the Sleepless have a guard watching the Dawnshard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They did--but only a couple of hordelings to give warning. They never thought, in a million years, the intruders would absorb the Dawnshard. It wasn't seen as possible for a variety of reasons that, some day, might be clear.

    Up until the moment realizing what had happened, they assumed they were in complete control, as the humans were locked into a place with no other exit and there were swarms blocking the way back out through the water.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    I was wondering if you could clarify how The Sleepless communicate between all the members of their horde and each other? They are described as buzzing, so are they relaying messages from hordeling to hordeling across huge distances or do they have so kind of more specialized telepathy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's mostly telepathic; hordeling buzzings are more like emotional punctuation, like body language in humans.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Now that Rysn has secrets to keep, where do her alliances lie? She seems slightly skeptical of the Radiants, so would she be more patriotic to Thaylen City and potentially share her information with Queen Fen? Or maybe even Vstim?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Her loyalty is most likely to her babsk and others who have proven, in person, to her their merit.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    I am a bit sad Lift didn’t tag along to Shadesmar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was actually going to send her on that mission, and wrote this chapter with that intent. Then I re-read what I'd written, and decided, "There's no way on Roshar Dalinar and Navani would send her on a delicate diplomatic mission." So I forced myself to revise the outline so Lift stayed in the tower.

    There are some things that just stretch plausibility too much.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Speaking of sending Stalins to jail, will Dalinar ever face any consequences for his act of genocide in Rift?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Unfortunately, no. (Other than his strained relationship with Adolin and his own personal guilt.)

    Problem here is that by our standards (and now, Dalinar's own) this was a terrible act of destruction. But by the standards of his society, this was just business as usual. A city in open rebellion against the crown? That's basically an invitation.

    It's a tricky scene because the awful truth is that in our world, these sorts of things were extremely common in warfare--even up to and including the modern era. It wasn't until very recently that this sort of action was seen as a the war crime that it is.

    To be more accurate, I probably should have had this sort of thing happen dozens of times in Dalinar's past. But I felt that wouldn't have made the point any stronger, and felt that one time was bad enough. That said, however, it's not the sort of thing that most rulers through history would have to bear any consequences for.


    Has Vasher/Zahel done anything like this? Is that why he is as we see him in the Stormlight Archive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO for now, but the responses below this do have valid points [Manywar and Nightblood].


    Would something like the 1474 trial of Peter von Hagenbach be possible on Roshar? And if yes, would this be something Skybreakers would get behind? It always seemed to be that they'd be interested in the idea of 'make law, not war' (I got that quote from Ben Ferencz).

    Brandon Sanderson

    This sort of thing would have been possible (and indeed inevitable in a situation like that) during the days of the Radiants. Not so much in recent history. Old Skybreakers would have been behind it entirely, new ones have some...different ways of looking at things.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    One question I've seen arisen about Taravangian I'm hoping for clarification on: Is he basically retreating from public eye whenever he's not having a "good" (smarter) day?

    Navani notes in the chapter that he's dispensed with the doddering old man act, but we the readers know he's just as likely to have a not-smart-but-emotional day where he's not allowed to enact policy, and that could be on the day meetings with the monarchs occur. How is he managing his condition with being so much more in the public eye now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is more help with this in his perspectives, so I'll leave this at a RAFO for now.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    So once Huio swears the ideal and the bargain is made, why not use the Oathgate? Did I miss something here?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The group isn't certain yet if they want to expend the military (particularly naval) might to secure the location just yet. It's not something you make on a whim; and now that the Sleepless have agreed not to attack them, Windrunners can fly back in a matter of hours, so they don't have to decide right now.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    There's going to be more dawnshard stuff in the rest of the SA right? Like I couldn't bear it if you introduce this cool as hell concept of the literal words of creation, and then I have to wait like 10 years for more dawnshard goodness to show up.

    So for the sake of my sanity can you just confirm that it's not gonna be another decade before we hear/see more about them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be more, but not much more in the first five.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Since when did your start to plan this specific development for Rysn? Was it something that existed from her inception?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rysn wasn't in my very first outlines; I decided upon this path for her when working on Words of Radiance, as I realized I really wanted one Interlude character that I returned to, and showed a longer story across several years for.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    and the reason he (even still) cannot physically harm people

    This point still confuses me. He quite handily puts Kelsier on his rear in The Well.

    So he can harm someone if he's provoked? Or is it because he knows that regardless of what he does to Kelsier it won't actually harm him?

    And a lot of "harm" is in the mind. Even without a corporeal body, it would still register as pain, thus harm?

    And wouldn't it still be considered physical harm, if Hoid was there physically? Applying physical harm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you re-read that scene, Hoid himself is shocked he's able to do what he does there. Let's just say he himself doesn't quite understand the issue as much as he once assumed.


    Can we assume he cannot harm a LIVING being, but Kelsier is at that point not a living being?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the conclusion Hoid came to, so it's a pretty solid assumption.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Nineteen

    So, this brings us to the end of Part One, and you can fully see the reversed shape of the story here. Explosive beginning, contemplative ending. I went back and forth on whether I should end with Kaladin or Navani, as his decision to become a surgeon was the larger of the narrative arcs--but Navani's section better matched the thematic end of the part.

    I fully expect some readers to be a little indignant about the fact that Taravangian is walking around free, while Szeth is imprisoned. I agree--it's unfair, but I also believe it to be (unfortunately) accurate. Taravangian is, despite his unassuming mannerisms, one of the most powerful people in the world. While it would have been great to toss Stalin into jail for his crimes, it wasn't really an option--and during the war, the allies needed him.

    That isn't to say Taravangian is untouchable. Only that I felt what you read her to be one of the more likely outcomes to his outing. His argument that he didn't do anything worse than Dalinar did is a pretty solid one; if there hadn't also been suspicion he was working with the enemy, it's likely there would have been no relevant consequences to his assassination orders.

    You'll be getting his perspective on all of this soon, as he has an interlude after each part of this book. (Like Szeth got in the first book, or Eshonai got in the second.)

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    How much have you thought about the evolution of the biology on Roshar? It seems like the creatures we saw in Dawnshard attacking the crew (Sleepless aside, they're a whole other can of cremlings) are basically amphibious chasmfiends? Or some descendent of larkin? Or even an offshoot of hordelings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I imagine there's a lot of aquatic Rosharan megafauna, as many prey species on the planet have literal sources of energy inside of them that (with the right biological adaptations) can be turned into calories. Mix the low gravity, high oxygen, environment--and the possibility for bonding spren for other adaptations--and there's some real fun to be had.

    Rosharan Sleepless, as a species who can self-evolve over internal generations, have managed to interbreed with some species of cremlings to come up with specialized hordelings to do some remarkable things.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    When the Sleepless refer to 'Surgebinding' with the Dawnshards do they mean it specifically in the Rosharan sense, or just because that is the word Roshar has for magic.

    I.e. if this occurred on Scadrial would they still call it 'Surgebinding' or something else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Surgebinding is kind of a catch-all for cosmere magic here, as you're assuming. Literally binding (using) surges (a word for what we would call types of magic.)


    So, Rosharans would look at an Allomancer or Feruchemist and say, "Yep, that there is a Surgebinder," correct?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Many Rosharans. Many would also just think of them as some kind of voidbringer or other mythological figure, from local lore.


    Wait, have mistborn been to roshar or am I reading this wrong?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What I mean is that someone like from, say, Bavland might have different stories they tell about creatures in the night than someone from Rira. So while they might call someone who uses strange abilities a surgebinder, they are probably more likely to talk about the local equivalent of something like a fae creature from local British lore.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    With savants, the more they use the magic (the more Kaza Soulcasts, the more Spook burns tin), the more pronounced the effect. Is there something similar going on with the Dawnshards? Would Rysn change more and more as time goes by? Savants do, Vessels do...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, she would change more as time goes by.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Do the Sleepless name themselves? Seems like they would since they spawn from "lost" swarms. Would they think of themselves as the original swarm at first? Would this would bring in all the scifi clone identity problems where the clone doesn't own it's identity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO for now. I'll get into their society some other time.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    When the Sleepless communicate, are their words being transmitted to each other instantaneously or is the transfer of information limited in speed to the speed of light? Like if one Sleepless was on Ashyn and they communicated with one on Roshar, would they be able to converse normally or would there be a time lag while the information was being sent from one planet to another?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have to RAFO this for now, as there are certain relativity related things I don't want to get into quite yet in the cosmere.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Wait, Hoid can't eat meat, despite the fact that he loves bacon? That poor, poor man.

    Makes me wonder if this extends to Soulcast meat, though.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's usually part of the joke when I mention his love for it.

    There's a cognitive aspect to it, though--but whenever he's around food, you'll often note him acting a little oddly.


    So does that mean he was extra mean to the Alethi because he had to show up to all their feasts as Wit?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, taking on the Wit persona was his choice.


    Is that inability to eat meat and harm people related to the Intent of the Dawnshard he took up? Is he like a Sliver in a way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO, I'm afraid. But these are the right questions to be asking.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Would Sleepless be the 3rd race native to Yolen? Man, Dragon, and Sleepless?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Sho Del are the third race from Yolen.


    I've heard you mention the Sho Del a few times, though only that they were the third race on Yolen. Is there anything else you could reveal about the Sho Del that's not too spoilery?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The big thing happening on Yolen (and major plot points of both Dragonsteel and The Liar of Partinel, neither of which I decided to publish) is two competing ecologies on one planet. An entire invasive ecology (called "fain") and the regular one, familiar to us. The Sho Del fill the niche in the fain ecosystem that humans fill in ours.