What's a seon look like in the Cognitive Realm?
RAFO. Good question.
What's a seon look like in the Cognitive Realm?
RAFO. Good question.
Reading Legion, my question was: do you think yourself a little mentally ill?
The way I think about psychology (and granted, this is just Brandon, this is not me saying "This is how it has to be") is that every person has their own mixture of things. And what might be a disorder in someone else is not in others, because of the way that it works in their life and the way they perceive it. So I do not-- I think my psychology is very healthy for me. But in other people, my psychology could be unhealthy for them. How about that?
[What is your favorite] disorder to write about?"
I don't know if I have a favorite. I have revisited dissociative disorders in multiple different ways because they make for interesting narrative... but it's not the disorder that's interesting to me, it's the person interfacing with the world and the challenges they deal with. And writing about that sort of thing is really interesting to me. I try not to let the disorder define the person, though it is sometimes a little harder, particularly with something like Legion.
Is there conspiracyspren? We have kind of a family joke about that one.
So, conspiracyspren... Let's just say this. I have purposefully not made spren of certain things that I think would undermine the very purpose of the spren. If that makes sense?
My question was going to be: What emotion would you never write a spren for?
Well there are ones that-- I would go with that. Things that undermine the very nature.-- But I wouldn't say never to anything. In the cosmere, particularly on Roshar, if people start to personify something, there's a chance it would become a spren, and that could be anything. The current vogue question to ask me is "will there be memespren..." And my response is always, "If people personify something, then there's a chance that a spren will develop out of it."
Saying that, "Odium did not leave his power behind on Sel. He left several other powers which are now, to a large extent, mindless." So, is another power- did he have some kind of *inaudible* under control or--
So I dodged that one very easily. I was talking about Dominion and Devotion, which he could have taken up and left behind. It technically answered the question. That was the answer. I even said on a tape later on "I wiggled out of that one real well," but they didn't know how I wiggled out of it. When they said "Did he leave behind any powers?" Those are the powers he left behind.
But they weren't his powers?
No, but they were-- As soon as he killed them, he could have had them, right? So it definitely gave me wiggle room.
Does Odium control/manipulate/possess Trell? As a pseudo-<counter?> philosophy on the modern era?
My question is - I am writing a paper in my *inaudible* and thinking about Plato's allegory of the cave and how America has created an echo chamber with the media, and I was wondering if you had any thoughts on that.
Okay, clever. Boy, that is a really interesting premise. I agree 100% with that exploration. Do I have any thoughts on it? I think part of the purpose of fiction is force us to explore people who are not like ourselves and don't think like ourselves. And my biggest worry with the echo chamber is it's going to start crowding out the art that has anything you don't agree with, which I think are the most important things to be reading. And,at least, for me, that was always the most important thing to be reading, so, I would say, as an artist, this worries me, because it kind of undermines one of the most important purposes of art.
In the cosmere, other than Frost, have we been introduced to other dragons?
There have been others around, but I don't know if.-- There have been others around. I'll just say that.
Is Handerwym a duralumin misting?
Haha. RAFO. We'll see if I do anything with Handerwym in the future. I'm not sure.
Would somebody be able to use enough Investiture or Breath to achieve Shard-- Or to become--
When they are becoming the Vessel of a Shard, this is kind of what's happening. So it's a theoretically possible thing, but it would be basically indistinguishable from just picking it up.
Does Odium know about Glys?
Who? Oh, Glys. *sighs* Yes, he does. But.
Has Mraize ever Ascended?
RAFO. So it's not a yes or no. It's a yes or no or other.
What would happen if you burned an Awakened metal?
I'll RAFO that for now. It's very, very rare in the cosmere. Something interesting would happen. We'll RAFO that.
Are we going to learn any more about Syl's past, and her former Radiant?
Yes, you will indeed learn more about Syl's past. And her former Radiant.
Roshar's moons, do they have special spren associated with them?
Are any of your characters influenced or inspired by your immediate family, like your wife or kids? And if so, which ones?
My wife has asked me not to put her in a book. And so I haven't.
My children have inspired a number of characters, but they change so quickly. Steelheart is dedicated to Dallin from when he was, like, a two year old or whatever. And now he's an eight year old, and he's a very different guy. So basing characters on my kids is less basing them on a person and more on the experience of being a father and having young kids. Like, hero of The Rithmatist is named Joel. My first son is named Joel. That's not a coincidence. But when The Rithmatist came out, he was really little, and it's not like that character could be based on his personality at all, because he was crawling and eating his fingers at that age.
My good friends, particularly during the years when I was trying to break in, they have inspired a lot of characters. Sarene from Elantris is based on a friend of mind named Annie. A lot of Bridge Four, particularly the second string Bridge Four members. (Because I don't want them to have to worry that I'm gonna use them in a major way. It's more like they're getting cameos.) Skar is based on a friend of mine, Leyten is based on a friend of mine, Peet is based on a friend of mine, a bunch of the people from Bridge Four that aren't the ones that the main story is about, those are all my friends from college who were supporting me when I was writing these books.
As a writer, using someone in a book is less about basing a character on them, usually for me, and more about finding some interesting tidbit about their personality that I find fascinating that I spiral off into a new character whose seed was a little tiny aspect of somebody I know. Just like every character-- People ask me who my favorite character is. I don't have one. I don't have a favorite book either, they're all like my children. But every character is based a little bit on something I do and something that's very different from me. And I take those two seeds, and I intermix them, and build a character around it.
Was Drephrast at the Shattering, and if so, did he play a part in it?
Those are RAFOs.
You mentioned Star Wars, and you mentioned Elantris. I know you went back and did some rework on Elantris. How often do you-- How do you resist the urge to go back and rework your earlier books?
It's kind of a balancing act because-- There's a famous quote that people attribute to Da Vinci (though I don't know if it was really him) that says, "Art is never finished; it's only abandoned." Which is quite true. Every book could have taken another year, another two years, another five years, and become a different book as you're working on it. And I think there is a balance to be found between fixing continuity errors and improving the experience, versus changing the book into something else. With Elantris, when we did the tenth anniversary [edition], we tried to hold ourselves strictly to continuity errors. Things that were being fixed were language cleanups; kind of like the digital remaster of a DVD, where it's the same thing, but times where I misused commas or I used this word a little too much, we cleaned it up to make the experience better. Or, in one case, someone looks out and sees Elantris from a point in the city where they were facing the wrong way. Stuff like that.
The only time I have done more than that was experimenting with the end of Words of Radiance. And because-- My big concern with that is, I made some tweaks for the paperback, and then it raised lots of questions of "Which one is the canonical answer?" Which was too confusing for fans. I don't care if fans get confused on "What's the canonical answer of which direction this character was facing in this scene?" It doesn't really matter. But which is the canonical answer of what big decision a character makes does raise enough concern that I probably won't do it.
But I don't know. Grandpa Tolkien went back and changed The Hobbit to match Lord of the Rings. And when I read The Hobbit, that improved the experience for me, because I was reading it years and years later. I can see how it'd be confusing if people loved The Hobbit beforehand. But it ended up making a better story overall. So, I don't know. It's more about just finding the balance that we think is the right balance as we release these tenth anniversary editions of my books where we're cleaning up the language and things like that. I don't anticipate doing large-scale changes, unless they're for continuity reasons, moving forward.
How about the Way of Kings board game?
...Too early to say. There have been some hiccups, how about that? Reckoners board game, though, came out and is really a lot of fun. So if you're looking for Brandon Sanderson themed board games, we do have two of them for you. But the Stormlight one, we shall see. Right now, we are being very cautious with that one.
There's a Mistborn pen-and-paper RPG. Are you gonna add other magic systems, a la Rifts, where we're connecting the cosmere?
I have floated the idea to Crafty, who made a really great roleplaying game. They have been a delight to work with. They came to me and said, "What are your favorite RPGs? How can we make one that you'll be happy with?" And they took that and ran with it, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. And I really think they did a good job with [Mistborn: House War]. So they have been an excellent partner.
When I mentioned it to them, they said something that I respect a lot. They said, "Let's make sure that Mistborn is really good before we add other things." And I think, in the years intervening, watching how different film properties have not taken that same philosophy of "Let's take the thing we're doing and do it really well before we ask where else it'll go." I think that Crafty was very wise in that. I think it is likely we will do more, but they wanna make sure they are supporting the game they released and the IP that they've released before they do anything more.
So, I can't promise, but I do think there will likely be more.
Are there plans for another thing like Arcanum Unbounded?
Yes. But it's gonna be a ways off.
Where Arcanum came from is the fact that, early in my career, I would have an idea, I would sit down, I would write a novel. That is how I trained myself to be a writer. That's where I came up with thirteen novels before I sold one. That turned into my greatest advantage, and one of my greatest liabilities as I have progressed as a writer. The reason it was an advantage is, having spent all those years learning to write and learning my process, I knew what to do when a book wasn't working. I knew what to do with a book when it worked, but I wanted to make it better. I knew how to build an outline that would really make me excited about a story. But I also was really, really good at telling a new story and opening things up, and I had not practiced closing things off. All thirteen of those novels were basically all standalones with series potential, where I was hinting at something larger. And so early in my career, I was very good at, "Let's write a book. And of course, because I know what came before and what'll come after, I will make those things open for me."
And then I ended up-- The Wheel of Time came along, and kind of slammed into me like a freight train, and left me with all these first books that I had started. The Rithmatist. I had started, at that point, working on Legion. I had been doing Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians. And I found that what I needed to learn how to do was write a self-contained novella to get some of these ideas out of my head, rather than writing a novel that promised sequels. Because I also had promised sequels to Elantris, and sequels to Warbreaker.
And so Arcanum Unbounded is my attempt to kind of do like the interludes in Stormlight in my own career. Little interludes where I take an idea and I dig into it and I explore some part, often of the cosmere, without promising sequels. And part of my goal right now as a writer is to make sure I'm closing off more things than I open, or at least at the same rate. So that's why I finished Legion this year, which is done, and why I'm trying to finish Alcatraz for next year. If you're waiting for Rithmatist--which is the one I get the most requests about--eventually. It's gonna take a little while. It's been a really hard one to figure out how to do the sequels to.
But, closing things off. What you'll see me doing are more novellas like that, as time progresses. Eventually, I will start collecting them, like I did with Arcanum. But it's gonna take me a few years to get enough of them written that then they'll be worth another collection.
How do you go about jumping from something like Stormlight into a science fiction instead, of something like Skyward?
This is an interesting question for me because, as a writer, I don't look at genre trappings perhaps the same way that you might. I look at story structure and genre trappings as two very different things. Two very important things, but two very different things. And story structure is different.
For instance, the Bridge Four sequence from Way of Kings and the movie Hoosiers and the book Ender's Game are all what we call underdog sports stories. And those are three different stories in three different genre trappings. Modern-day, science fiction, and fantasy; and yet all three of them use the same plot archetype as the core of their story. And you'll find, for instance, that a buddy cop movie and a regency romance will sometimes use the exact same plot archetypes, despite being different subgenres. And so, as a writer, one of the things we do is we start to learn to divide plot archetype, character archetype, genre trappings, and all of these things to build the story that we want to with the feel we want to.
So that's kind of like, when people ask me, "Star Wars. Science fiction, or fantasy?" Well, it's a fantasy plot archetype. (Really, it's a western plot archetype, but they both use the same idea.) The plot archetype is fantasy, it's the hero's journey epic; and the genre trappings are science fiction. So I would place it in science fiction, but with fantasy underpinnings.
So when I'm moving from Way of Kings to Skyward, it's not so much about how the shift between fantasy versus science fiction is. Really, the things I'm looking for that are the big shift are: a narrow focus on one character, versus a wide focus on a large cast. That's the biggest difference for me. Also, the kind of setting-as-character in Stormlight Archive, where you're going to get to know this deep setting, versus setting-as-mystery, which is the setting archetype I'm using for Skyward. We don't know what the enemy is. We're trying to figure out what's going on. We don't know our past.
So those sorts of things, I look as very differently as a writer than I think maybe a reader might look at them.
Does bronze detect Investiture or only Allomancy?
Investiture. It can be used for other things. But like most detection methods, it doesn't look for wells of power, it looks for power that's being used, generally. You get enough power together, and bronze will be able to find it no matter what.
Allomancy is a conversion from matter to energy... Is it inherently an unreplacable resource or is there a process by which it's replaced to propagate?
There is a process by which it is replaced.
Steris and Marasi. Did you plan the love interest to be [Steris] from the very beginning beginning?
I did... Very beginning is a weird thing as an author to explain. Because the very beginning of that story, Wax didn't exist, it was only Wayne. Then I built Wax in, then I started building Wax's back history. Then I started building Marasi. Then I started building-- right? By the time that the outline for the four books was done, but even before that when I was just writing the first one, I knew what I was doing, there.
In Elantris, there's the three ways that AonDor's manifested. Through the Aons, through the Dhakor, through the ChaySan. With Emerpror's Soul, there's two major ones that we see with the Forging and Bloodsealing. And also that parallels with, there's one - kind of like, in Mistborn where there's one that's positive, one that's neutral, one that's negative. Where does the third one fit in on the Emperor's Soul side?
Emperor's Soul, there are way more. It's not a split of the three.
In the original Knights Radiant, when they had squires, were all of the squires destined for bonding spren?
No... Many stayed squires forever and that was okay.
The people on Scadrial have innate Investiture from Preservation. If someone from another planet, say Roshar, were to get Allomancy, from Hemalurgy or Feruchemy, would that person have to have Stormlight as well as the metal in order to do their--
No, good question. They would just need the metal if you were Hemalurgically getting the ability. Remember, Hemalurgy is basically ripping off a piece of someone else's soul and stapling it to yours. Short circuiting the soul, so to speak... All the pieces of the soul you would need, it is giving you. It has dangerous ramifications, but you wouldn't need Stormlight also.
Yesteel from Warbreaker. At the time of Oathbringer, is he still at large?
RAFO, I'm afraid... I will let you know the fates of all Five Scholars, probably, in Nightblood, the book, when I write it. The ones you don't know already. It's a RAFO-- Well, if I write Nightblood... Of the cosmere books, it's probably the... most in jeopardy, other than maybe the Threnody novel.
You've made it clear that on Sel, all magic requires both location and shape to be dependent. But we also know Elantrians are consistently being renewed by [the Dor]. Is that because Elantrians' bodies have been changed a certain way or is that due to a large Aon Rao?
It is a little bit of-- It is more about the way they have been changed than about the Aon.
Is that a spiritweb based or is that body change kinda similar to the Dhakor monks?
It is a mix of both.
In the past, you've said that kandra have size limitations. They can't just lop off a chunk and make a squirrel or anything like that. If a kandra was in full human form, somehow consumed and absorbed an aviar, kept it fully attached to their shoulder, it wouldn't be able to fly off but it was still attached to them, they're one contiguous body, could they get the abilities of that aviar?
No, good question. They would have to-- They're just replicating the body, they're not replicating the soul.
Silence Divine, are you allowed to talk about when it's going to happen in the timeline?
...It is late Stormlight Archive era. I image it being around book 8 or something like that.
So it was after the Dawnchant was written.
Yes. But since it hasn't been written yet, the timeline is not canon for that yet.
Do any of the Shards regret becoming one?
Yes. I would say yes.
If you had a huge block of metal, a single block of metal that's big enough to build a city on, would that just show up as a single bead?
It depends on how people think of it. The perception of the people in the Physical Realm has a big effect on how things appear. And also the effect of how people see it on that side shapes it over time as well. And often times-- We'll leave it at that. It gets a little complicated.
Metal in the Mistborn world, is it renewable somehow? Because when you burn it, it just goes away and then it's converted somehow into energy. Can they run out?
The way that atium gets back into the system is a bit of a hint... Atium grows out of crystals, and that is being distilled. Let's just say... Investiture is changing into matter as atium is being made.
Would a Returned look different in Shadesmar than a normal person?
Can modern-day Felt get his hands on atium?
He would know how to try going about it, he would not be able to get ahold of it right now. It would be outside-- It's not something he can just pop off. He would have some ideas on how to try to go about it. I doubt he could pull it off.
Is Trell Endowment?
Back to the callsigns. Did you come up with Jorgen's name first, or did you come up with his callsign first?
The callsign was first. And then the name followed out of some of the linguistics I was using... Yeah, the callsign was first.
Do you find it harder to write from a male or female's point of view?
It is harder to write-- The more different someone is from me, the more difficult they are to write. Gender is only one part of that, however, and so some characters who are very like me, but maybe-- maybe a woman, would be easier to write than someone who is very different from me but is a guy. But that's all kind of part of it.
Early in my career, before I got published, I was actually really bad at this; but the main thing I learned from that era of my writing was that I was writing people to a role in the story. It wasn't that I was bad at writing women, it was that I was writing all women as the love interest. Which resulted in bad storytelling and flat characters. And if you start to be able to learn: treat each character they are the protagonist of their own story, treat each character like they see themselves, not as a bit part, but as the story themselves; and start to explore who they are rather than putting them in a role in the story, your characters will get better all around.
Would it make an Allomancer sick if they tried to burn pure silver?
As it stands right now, nothing would happen, because they would know if it did. Good question. Silver has some weird properties, but on Scadrial they are largely undiscovered.
Is there anything more significant to Tien's obsession with rocks? Or is that just an example of him being a unique kid?
There is a little bit to the way he's seeing color in mundane things. It's less the rock, and more the things about the world he finds interesting. So I'm going to say it's the second. It's an aspect of who he is; the rock itself is not the important thing.
Felt. Was he involved with Scadrial's atium pit mercantile system?
Let's say, he was aware.
How old is he? Was he born around first Era, or so?
Felt is a little older than that. Not a lot.
When you a get a Hemalurgic spike, if you just immediately... tap gold, do you lose the spike, or is the spike already in there and can't get out?
Okay: so hemalurgic spike, tap gold? RAFO.
What's it like inside a time bubble on a windy day?
So, I've had to play around a little bit with the air. Air moves in and out, you would still feel it windy, but as I have it you will not feel it from the direction the wind is coming, it will be deflected a little bit. So you might be a little bit in a wind tunnel or something, probably a swirl.
How does Feruchemical gold interact with organ transplants?
In an interesting way.
In a good interesting or bad interesting?
It depends on the situation.
If you were burning electrum right now would all of your shadows just be sitting there signing books or would some of them be doing crazy things?
Some of them would be doing crazy things.
How much wealth, approximately, does it take to buy enough Breaths for the Fifth Heightening? Like buying a house, buying a ma-
Ooh, okay. This is going to wait for official--
Oh for that project.
Well I put some people on it, let's just say, so wait until we have the official project telling your conversion rates and then you'll be able to answer that theoretically once we get that all down.
Just in terms of wealth on Nalthis? Like money?
It would take a large amount of wealth.
Did the Iriali have inhuman ancestry at some point in the past?
Depends on your definition of human. Most would say yes.
Do humans with Siah Aimian ancestry have odd shadows at all?
Yes, but not what you think.