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    Questioner

    How is the Mistborn screenplay going? What's it like adapting your own work from over a decade ago?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've been running the screenplay through my writing group, and they've got some great feedback. The biggest challenge right now with the screenplay is actually with Vin's character. This is because a lot of what you get to know about Vin in the course of Mistborn is really internally motivated. She's actually pretty quiet, rather shy for someone who does what she does. And keeps a lot of her emotions and thoughts close to her heart. That is hard to show in a screenplay. And really difficult to pull off in an action/adventure screenplay, where you need people to be moving and things like this. And the danger is having Vin come across as just an Artful Dodger. As this confident street thief. Which was the first version of Vin that I wrote, trying to pull of in the books and then failed. This is just one chapter, before I wrote the book. She was kind of your more generic street thief, your Aladdin, your Artful Dodger. And Vin didn't work that way. It, partially, was too generic. Not that those characters are generic; they've just been genericized, they've been done so much. So I tried this other version, this non-self-confident version of Vin that had this really interesting dynamic going on inside of her about wanting to trust, but not being sure if she could. And that really made the book work. Getting that across in the screenplay: super hard. So that's been the challenge.

    Fitting it into screenplay format has actually not been hard. I haven't written the screenplay yet; this is all in the treatment stage.

    How is it adapting something that I wrote over ten years ago now? It's actually been, in some ways, liberating. Because I have enough distance from it, I can see structurally the things that I can change, I think, easier than if I'd been closer to it. But also a little bit hard, because it is something so long ago, I have to keep going back to the book and reading sections of the book and reminding myself of things that I wrote in the book. Like, the scene where Vin and Elend meet is one of my favorite scenes in the book, but I still had to go back and reread that scene to get it into the treatment, because I had forgotten the actual dialogue cues, and things like that.

    So, yeah, it's a challenge, but it's also liberating.

    YouTube Livestream 9 ()
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    Questioner

    You said earlier that Rhythm of War includes a key sequence that you have envisioned for years. How does it feel to have captured the sequence? And are you personally happy with the result?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Feels great to finally write that sequence. And now that the beta reads are in, I can say the sequence works. Really, really pleased. Really happy that it came together. There were other things that needed to change, but that one worked. There almost have been no edits or revisions to that whole sequence through all the drafts. I've been planning it for so long. It's one of those things that I wrote, and it was as I imagined it, and it came together. And you will be able to read it in Part Five of Rhythm of War.

    YouTube Livestream 11 ()
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    Questioner

    I wonder if you got the inspiration for Doomslug's character from your parrot Magellan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wrote Doomslug before i had Magellan. However, I have had pet birds since I was a kid. I love parrots. Other people are dog people or cat people; I am a parrot person. So, I basically always had a parrot. There was a period in my life where the kids were young that my cockatiel Beaker went to live with my mom because the kids were tormenting him. Now they're old enough, and they're afraid enough of Magellan that we can have a parrot again. So, parrot behavior influences a lot of how I treat animal behavior because of that. So, yes.

    YouTube Livestream 11 ()
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    Questioner

    Maybe talking about your process about picking chapter titles for the Stormlight books?

    Emily Sanderson

    It's been really fun. I wouldn't say I really pick them, because the betas come up with a fantastic list of possibilities, and Peter has a lot of say about what really fits. But with... did I start in Words of Radiance? In Words of Radiance, I think, it was just Brandon and Peter were both just too busy. And so I got on the beta document and looked at everyone's suggestions, and kind of skimmed back. Because I'd read the book before; but I skimmed back through the chapters and chose a chapter title that would fit.

    And it's been really fun to be involved in that way. Both to see the test audience reactions and... I get impatient, and as soon as Brandon will let me, I read the whole book. So when I choose chapter titles, I reread it again more slowly, and you always get different things out of it when you read it slowly.

    YouTube Livestream 11 ()
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    Questioner

    What Order do you belong to? What Order does Emily belong to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I got (and I can't remember which one was on top and which one was second, but they were very close) Elsecaller and Bondsmith. Which are the places I would have sorted myself. That's when I knew the test was doing a good job.

    Emily Sanderson

    And my top is Bondsmith. I don't remember what my second one was.

    YouTube Livestream 11 ()
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    Questioner

    Will you ever consider writing a TenSoon or kandra book or series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I could see doing a novella. Will there be a full series? There are way too many full-series things that need to happen already in the Cosmere. Chances that you get kandra viewpoints in upcoming books or that you get a novella, is much higher than an actual book series. That said, there's also the experiment we're planning to do; we're having Isaac write some Cosmere stuff. It's gonna start as graphic novels and things like that. Isaac has been in this from the very beginning, and he's one of the few people I would trust to do Cosmere stuff. Maybe Isaac will do this.

    Isaac Stewart

    You asked the question, and I wrote a note down here. Because we're playing with Mistborn stuff. Knowing what people are interested in seeing might spur something cool.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I got a really cool kandra character that I'm waiting to slot into a book eventually that's going to be a lot of fun when I can find a spot for him.

    YouTube Livestream 11 ()
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    Questioner

    How do you decide what scenes get depicted in the books?

    Isaac Stewart

    With the Alcatraz books, I read it, I would fill out a list. The editor read it and filled out a list of different scenes that we would want. And then the artist would do that, as well. And then we would discuss and kind of narrow it down from there.

    On these leatherbound books, I will usually approach an artist, and I may have a scene in mind. If the artist is already a fan, I will ask them, "Are there any scenes that you particularly like?" And we'll go from there. But I can't do that with every artist, because they all want to paint Dalinar freeing the slaves, things like that.

    Beyond that, I start looking at moments that haven't been depicted before, but ought to be depicted. One of the examples in this one was Navani's painting of the thath glyph. We hadn't seen that done before. (And of course, about the same time, Brotherwise was doing their own version of it, as well. So ours and theirs came out at the same time, and they're both fantastic. Another one of those that's like that is, we had Micah Epstein paint the Heralds leaving their swords behind. And then Brotherwise also did a fantastic rendition of that, using our canonical Blade designs, which turned out really nice, as well. And it was so cool to see the same scene, painted in different ways by different artists.) But that's one of the things I do. And of course, there are these candy bar moments that you want to show somehow in the book.

    One of the challenges with these books is that we already had, like, thirty pieces of art in them, in the form of grayscale pieces. For these books, they're two-color pieces. The same artwork that is in the other one; there is one replacement. You'll know which one it is. We'll talk about that one. We do have a few new ones. Ben McSweeney did a Sadeas's bridges piece. I think this is one that we probably should have had in the original book, anyway. We also, in the trade paperback of the Way of Kings, Ben did a piece of the cryptics. And we have taken that and added that into this one as a canonical piece by Shallan. And then we have a replacement for one of the old pieces.

    That's sort of the process. I also go to Brandon and say, "Hey, are there any scenes you want to see? If there's something that he feels really strongly about, then we find somebody to do that. So, it's kind of approaching it from all these different angles., and then narrowing it down. Because there's always more pieces than we have time or funds to do. Or even space.

    YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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    David

    How intertwined are the two halves of The Stormlight Archive? Will you need to read the first half to know what's happening in the second half? If you read the first half, will you need to read the second half to get that sense that the story has come to an end?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've never done something like this before. They are less intertwined than, say, Mistborn Two and Three. But maybe equivalent intertwined to Mistborn, as Mistborn is intertwined to Mistborn Two and Three, if that makes sense. It depends. Maybe even a little less than that, actually.

    I think that you are going to want to view them as one big series of ten books. And we are going to come to an ending, and there will be some very satisfying things about it. But it's definitely going to be a promise there is more to come. I've never done anything quite like this. Less final than Mistborn Three, certainly.

    So, I don't know. I didn't think anyone would read the Wax and Wayne books without reading the first ones, but I get emails all the time from people who started with those because those are the ones that appealed to them. I think you could start with Book Six of The Stormlight Archive, and it wouldn't feel strange. I think it would be harder to stop with Book Five, if that makes sense. Of those two options. But it's all gonna depend on your personal preferences, and things like that.

    It's an excellent question. Plus, I haven't written the fifth book yet, and that's gonna inform a lot. These things change and morph as I'm going; every one of them does. So, who knows. I can explain better after Book Five is done.

    YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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    Isaac Stewart

    If we do more of these sort of books in the future [like Way of Kings Prime], they'll all look nice on the shelf next to each other. We're calling them "Sanderson Curiosities."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Theoretically, our Stormlight Kickstarters, we'll add on things like a copy of White Sand Prime. Or a copy of Dragonsteel. Or these sorts of things. That are those books I wrote before I got published, the ones that are still good, but we've never done anything with. If you want the ultimate curiosity, then having all of these unpublished books on your shelf, you can get them this way.

    YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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    Questioner

    The Bulgarian cover for Rhythm of War is the result of a contest. Despite how great Michael Whelan's covers are, would you ever consider such a contest for an American Stormlight Archive edition? If not Stormlight, maybe any other series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would be very hard for me to not have a Michael Whelan cover (you guys know me and Michael Whelan stuff) for Stormlight Archive.

    For anything else, I could imagine that happening. Thing about it is that, in a market as big as the United States, it seems like it would be a tougher sell, both to the marketing market. And to an extent, it's a little bit... not "insulting," but imagine being an artist who's worked their whole life, and then we're like, "Yeah, we're gonna open this to a contest to people, instead." Just doesn't work the same way. So, I would be hard-pressed to imagine that happening in the States. There are so many fantastic illustrators earning their livings doing these covers, that asking people to submit free covers?

    It works in Bulgaria because they have a very small print run. They are a small country. They do a thousand copies of a lot of the things. And they engage the fan community, and I think it's wonderful, and I think it's delightful what they did. And I was fully approving it. But it just doesn't feel like the right thing to do here. Where we have a huge budget, right? Like, that's the difference. In Bulgaria, they can't pay very much for a cover. I mean, they don't pay me very much for the books. That's okay. But here, we have an actual art budget. And that's what employs professional artists, a lot of them; that's where they earn a living.

    YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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    Sophia

    You mentioned previously that you regret making Vin the only woman in Kelsier's crew. Is that something you're planning to change in the Mistborn screenplay?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is; I actually already did it. Both Dox and Ham are female in the screenplay. And actually, Ham in particular works really well as a woman, because one of the things that I wanted to do was play with Vin's conceptions of how a thieving crew works, because she worked in bad ones, and not understanding how a great team can work. So I have a great scene where she misinterprets everybody's job in the crew from glancing at them, making a quick judgement, and saying "Well this person's this, this person's this." And the only one she gets right is Spook. It works so well.

    Like, in the book, I can take pages and pages to show you, "This is how this crew is different from ones you might have read and ones that Vin has been part of." And in this, the movie, you need to have scenes do a lot of heavy duty lifting, multiple things at the same time. So in this scene, Vin can do that, and then we understand her judgement of why she said all these things, and then Kelsier can be like, "No. That right there is our Thug," pointing at Dockson [Ham], who is now a shorter woman. And with the powers of Allomancy, doesn't matter. And it becomes kind of a big moment, both for the audience and for Vin to understand "things are different here."

    I do have to warn you, there isn't a lot of time in the screenplay for the crew. If I'm gonna do this as a film... Which it's not set in stone; it's possible that I'll move to a show. But right now, what I'm planning is: film, television show for Well of Ascension, film. Which means that mostly in the first film, it is focused on Vin, Kelsier, Sazed, and Elend. That's gotta be the core of our film. With Shan as an antagonist. And that's the movie. And I can't spend as much time with each of the crew members, like I did. But what we can do is, we can then move into Well of Ascension as a show, and with that being a show really show the crew and the things they're doing. And kind of write a heist with the crew where the crew is trying to heist keeping the kingdom from collapsing. A thieving crew has been put in charge of a city; let's see if they can keep this empire going. And I think that will work really well in television show format. And that's where we can get into some the things with OreSeur and TenSoon and character arcs for some of the crew members, really get to know Ham and Breeze and everybody.

    That's the big cost by doing it in a film. That's the thing you're gonna have to understand, as it becomes really Vin and Kelsier's story. And I think it's gonna work. I think it is great. But if it doesn't, we do have the option of just doing a television show. Which I know a lot of you would rather see; I just see Mistborn as a film. I've always seen it as a feature film. So I'm hoping I can make it work.

    Footnote: Brandon appears to misspeak, labeling Dockson as the Thug instead of Ham.
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    Rachel

    If Earth had two or three Shards, what would they be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is not something that I feel confident answering right now. So let's RAFO that one. Maybe I'll think about it, but I honestly don't know.

    YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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    Shad

    Will there be a greatsword (montante style) in Stormlight Four, or does the longsword still get all the love?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am probably changing that. The scene I rewrote today, there was a greatsword added to. So you can look forward to it. I'm gonna try it out; it's possible that I'll trim it out. But I'm going with it for now. I thought you made some very good arguments along those lines.

    And for those wondering, most of Shad's arguments are along the lines of "Wouldn't this be awesome?" And he sees things the same way I do in a lot of ways of "Let's do what's cool, and then make it work."

    YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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    Andrew

    Had the Stormfather sent visions to Jasnah instead of Dalinar, how would that have changed her?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question. I think that Jasnah and the Stormfather would not be a terribly great match. But I think her coming to understand a very powerful spren like the Stormfather and seeing all of this, I think it would have really helped Jasnah build her philosophy of life. Because, what's going on in the cosmere, is that the gods are lowercase-g gods, right? And this is a really fascinating thing that I like when fantasy deals with. I'm certainly not the only one. But at what point do you worship a being who is pretty flawed, but super powerful and able to help you in your life? And what kind of worship is that, right?

    There's a level between atheism and theism in fantasy works, where it's like, "We can see that someone legitimately has supernatural powers, and following that person makes some logical sense. But does that make them God?" Certainly not as the church teaches, where there is a perfect being who is concerned with the lives of people and doesn't make mistakes.

    So I think Jasnah would have arrived at some of the conclusions that she made, probably, faster if she had had these visions to see the past. She would have known some things that she was suspicious of and hoped would be the case. She probably could have gotten to Urithiru much faster. It would have made a big difference in a lot of different ways. But it was not a good match, let's say. She was not the person the Stormfather was looking for for these sorts of things, to continue the legacy of Honor and things like this.

    YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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    Ken

    Can you talk about your influence for Steris?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I remember one of the things that really inspired me for Steris is actually Karen Ahlstrom, who is my continuity editor. Karen once was at a writing group talking about how she loves character who are like her, who always are ready. The person who saves that scrap. People call them hoarders, and in her head, she's like, "No no no. A hoarder is someone who doesn't know what they have or why they have it. I have this thing that I have saved. So I know I'm gonna need it someday." And someone's gonna say, "Man, I wish I had a cape for a seven-year-old that would go with this costume." And Karen is the person who says, "I've got one of those. Here, let me get it for you." Karen just loves being prepared to help people. And I thought, that is a brilliant and amazing character attribute to give to a character. The kind of Boy Scout "be prepared," but more in a "I'm ready to help. I do the research, I find out what people, and I am ready there with it. Maybe a little too much."

    And that really melded together with seeing her personality. She is based partially on a friend of mine who, when I first met this friend, it was very off-putting at first, getting to know them. What we took for being stuck-up was really just them being a little socially awkward, like most of us in this community are. But the way a lot of us express it is through being kind of goofy. And this person expressed it through being a little bit aloof. Which, when we got to know this person, we're like, "Wow. This is one of the most amazing people we've ever know." But very hard to get to know them, because mostly of us, our own prejudices against people who are a little more quiet. So, I put that into Steris.

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    Matthew Grady

    Does a metal need to be swallowed to be burned? Or can it be injected or snorted?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It could be either of those two things. Yes. Basically, metal into the body in any way is going to work, generally. There's nothing magical about the stomach, even though it works the best when we talk about it. It's just more intermixing the nature of the metal with your soul in the cosmere, your Spiritual entity, is what gives them that ability.

    YouTube Livestream 10 ()
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    Argent

    When coming up with the powers of the Metallic Arts, was there a magical effect you wanted to include but couldn't, for whatever reason? And what power would you have added if you could?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The one I most wanted to get was steelpushing and ironpulling. The others are all based around the things that I thought a gang of thieves would use. And that's the one that I'm just like, "This is cool. I'm gonna make this work. I'm gonna fit it in."

    There weren't any powers that I really wanted that I couldn't fit in. There are a lot of powers I considered and didn't get around to. Like, there is often a disguise artist in a thieving crew. But I knew Lightweaving was gonna be a big part of the cosmere. (Even back then I had written Dragonsteel, which had Lightweaving in it, and I was contemplating using that in Stormlight.) And I thought, "Too much disguise/illusion, too many uses of Lightweaving, is gonna become a problem."

    Plus, the moment you add that to a story, it does things to the story. From then on, you have to be playing weird espionage games. Which I like, don't get me wrong, but it changes the tone of things when anyone could be someone wearing a different face. So I just didn't put that into the books. I did a little bit of that with the kandra, in order to make a nod toward that, but I put some really strict requirements on it so that I could use it in the second book the way that I did. The kandra were designed for this; they weren't in the original (I don't believe) version of Mistborn before I came up with this story.

    YouTube Livestream 9 ()
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    Questioner

    Who would win: Dalinar with his Shards, or Szeth in Stormlight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Young Dalinar with his Shards, Dalinar in his prime versus Szeth? I think, long run, Szeth wins. The reason for this being, Stormlight is just an unfair advantage. You take away the Honorblade from Szeth and Dalinar does win. Szeth is good. But Szeth doesn't have experience with Plate nearly as much. He has been trained almost exclusively on Honorblades and Surges. His fighting styles are all built around them. He is an expert at using Surges, but if he doesn't have those, he's got nothing. Dalinar is good at a lot of different fighting styles, has been in war a ton, and even if he didn't have Plate and you put the two of them without powers against each other, Dalinar's probably going to win. But if Szeth has an Honorblade... being able to heal and being able to fly, these are two almost insurmountable advantages in a one-on-one combat.

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    Questioner

    Do the Purelakers get pruney feet because of the water? If not, is it because they have special feet or does it have to do with the magic fish?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They have adapted over time and they do not have magic feet. They have special feet, but they have adapted over time to the situation. Now, let's make the note that most natural selection does not work on the timescale of the cosmere and so there probably have to be some magical foundations for this. The fact that everyone on Roshar is Invested with a bit of Investiture more than average is going to push people over time in a way. Kind of the rationale I give myself on this is because Intent and these sorts of things are so important cosmerelogically that we get evolution on a faster scale in most of the cosmere. And so you can see this just by adaptations that have happened since the history of Roshar itself and the arrival of humans on Roshar and things like that.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    For the Shards of Adonalsium, which are basically the deities of the cosmere, I have picked things like Odium, Ruin, and Preservation, to be words that are really easy to... they mean something, you understand exactly what they are, there's going to be sixteen of them, so trying to remember all sixteen different names if they weren't something like that is going to be really hard. It makes it easier to keep which is which, it has an ominous feel to them, and they regionalize, translate into other languages really easily. So that's what I've done.

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    Questioner

    Is there a particular subgenre of fantasy or sci-fi that you would like to tackle in the future?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I do know what I am going to be tackling in the future, and it's this sort of... I don't know if there's a good name for it. A lot of people call it magepunk. I don't know that I like that as much. It's this fusion of fantasy elements and science fiction elements. As I move the cosmere more towards science fiction, it's moving more toward space opera science fiction. I love The Fifth Element. One of the things I love about The Fifth Element is this idea of this space religion. That kind of throwback fantasy religion mashed up with far future science fiction is so much fun to me. This is what we love about Star Wars, right? It's the everything-but-right-now. All the past stuff that's cool, all the future stuff that's cool. Now, do this poorly and it can feel like it's a story that's just throwing everything and the kitchen sink at you. What I'm hoping I'll be able to do is have realistic extrapolations, where things that aren't present in our world are natural to be present in the future of the cosmere. But I do like that idea, I do like when magic becomes the foundation for science fiction. Other than that, subgenres of fantasy that I would like to tackle, what haven't I tackled that I would like to try some time... I don't know. I haven't really done a true Weird West. Wax and Wayne kind of touches on that, but I haven't done what I would consider a real authentic Weird West story. That I could totally see as being something that I do in the future. Maybe if anyone thinks of cool ones, they can put them in the chat and we can throw those out.

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    Questioner

    A question for SanderMom. Which character of Brandon's do you think is most like you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would guess that Navani is a combination of you and Emily. And Navani is very like you. Very pragmatic, very "I'm gonna see things get done." There's probably a bit of you in Navani, I would say, for sure.

    Any time an accountant shows up in my books, you can guess where that came from. People have pointed out there a suspicious number of accountants in my books.

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    Questioner

    Did you do any research into the Knights Templar when you were preparing to write about the Radiants?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes and no. I find the Knights Templar fascinating, and I've often read about them and been interested in them. When I was coming up with the Knights Radiant, the origins of them didn't have... I didn't even call them the Knights Radiant in the first draft, the first version of Way of Kings. So some of these connections that now seem pretty clear with the ancient order that has fallen away and is being restored, and even the titling, didn't really exist in the early ones. I would say they're there in the back of my brain, certainly, and would be an unconscious influence. But a lot of the things that you might say, "Hey, these came from the Knights Templar," didn't. But were more of a parallel evolution sort of thing as I figured out what I wanted the Knights Radiant to be.

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    Questioner

    Can you talk a little bit about why you changed Khriss's personality so much between the White Sand prose and the White Sand graphic novel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I felt that the biggest weakness to a lot of my early writing (this encompasses White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Elantris) is that my worldbuilding was really working, my magic systems were really coming together, and my characters were flat and kind of boring. And this early work of mine, I look at and there's a lot of external conflict to characters.

    And it works in Elantris. Raoden is a bit boring, compared to some of my other characters. But he has an enormous external conflict to deal with, and that actually kind of works. There are lots of movies, I mentioned Mission Impossible earlier. Like Tom Cruise's character in those: not the most interesting character. But he doesn't have to be, because in fact it would probably make the movies worse if you spent a lot of time on that. That's not what those movies are about. So if you have lots of tension and lots of external conflict, then you can have a character who doesn't change as much, who doesn't go through big character arcs and things. And it's not just fine; it's a selling point of the story. It's just a different type of story.

    But the problem with mine is, they were all kind of the same person. They're all kind of the same level of boring in a lot of my early works. And so, when we approached the graphic novel version, one of the things I wanted to do was see if I can liven up the characters a little, if I can make them more like I would write them now. And that's what happened with basically all the changes in White Sand were attempts to do that: make the story more like I write right now. And I'm pleased with those changes.

    The only thing I don't like about White Sand is, as we were new into doing this, we did not get the worldbuilding across in a visual medium the way we wanted to. I don't think that the worldbuilding made the leap. And we're trying to fix that with future things that we're doing. We're hoping that we can play to the strengths of graphic novels and not have them lose some of the coolness. Some of the things that were working in the White Sand prose didn't make the jump to the graphic novel as well as we wanted them to.

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    Ken Fagan

    You mentioned in a previous stream that you envision the three Era 1 books as a movie, TV series, and another movie, respectively. Do you have an idea for what subsequent eras would look like in another medium?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wax and Wayne is a television show. Straight-up, that's how I envisioned it. I've only started to think of Era 1 as movie/television show/movie as I've worked on the screenplay and seen that the second book, pacing-wise, works so much better as a television show. So that's how I started to envision that. I've always envisioned Wax and Wayne as a television show.

    Era 3. I have to write. I have to see how Era 3 turns out. As I've told you before, I envisioned them as Mistborn spy thrillers. Mistborn Tom Clancy, Mistborn Mission Impossible kind of mashup sort of things. So, they're probably going to be paced and plotted more cinematically, which would mean features.

    I know a lot of people talk about animation, and that's totally on our radar for some of these things. There's cool things happening in animation right now. I actually was talking with my people and saying, "Do you think we can get anyone on board for the idea of a Reckoners animated show?" Because I think that would be awesome. So, it's totally on our radar. It's things we're thinking about doing. And I imagine it will happen for some of our properties going forward.

    A lot of people ask me about video games. We tried for years on Mistborn with a really great group of people who I still really like, Little Orbit and Matt Scott. Just top-notch folks. They treated me great, they treated the property great. But it just didn't come together. Video games are such a hard world.

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    Tony Irene

    Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration of Wayne, and if that was perhaps based off someone you know?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The fun story about Wayne, the beginnings of Alloy of Law were a short story that I wrote where Wayne was the protagonist, and MeLaan was his trusty steed in a horse's body. It was a guy who put on different hats to change personalities, riding into a small town in the Roughs, talking to his horse. Who, then, at the end of the first scene, talked back to him. It was a fun scene. It was way too weird. After I finished that scene, I'm like, "This guy is great. But this guy needs someone else to play off of. And it can't be his talking horse, because this story is just too out there."

    Why did I start writing that story? The initial idea is a person who changes personalities based on hats. You put on a hat, and it lets you kind of have a focus for your acting, to get into a role and become someone. That was really fun to me. In fact, in the original story, he was a hatmaker. He was a haberdasher. And he understood people by the headgear that they like.

    Which, if gonna be honest and trace it back, probably goes back to Thrawn. I love Thrawn, from the original Star Wars books by Timothy Zahn. And Thrawn was somebody who would look at the art that a culture produces and use that to come to understand them in ways that he could then use to conquer them. Which was just always so cool to me. Like, that's one of the coolest villain concepts, is this art appreciation villain who really gets to know a culture by studying their art, and then crushes them and dominates them. Just wonderful.  I'm always kind of looking for characters who see the world in an interesting way. That's probably it. I don't think I was thinking that when I came up with Wayne.

    But then, Wayne needed someone to bounce off against. Wayne needed a straight man, so to speak. And he just wasn't working. So that's when I started plotting Alloy of Law, the actual novel. The short story did not become the novel. The short story taught me that there was enough there that I was interested in that I really wanted to tell a story in this era. And it told me that there's something about this character that's gonna work if I can find the right vehicle to include them in a story.

    That's our origins of Wayne. I think I can probably also look at the Sherlock Holmes dynamic, Sherlock and Watson. Any time I'm building a mystery duo or team, there's a bit of Sherlock and Watson going around in the back of my head.

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    Questioner

    Where did the inspiration for the delvers in Starsight come from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Came from me wanting to do interdimensional eldritch horror, basically. It was a mashup I was looking to do. I'd always like space Cthulhu, space cosmic horror. Cosmic horror is a fun sort of storytelling attribute that I like. And it felt right to have these kind of interdimensional beings. I wanted something that did not see our reality and understand it. And something that was, in many ways, unknowable or couldn't be understood because of that. I wanted a true clash between something alien, and the way that we see the world. Because I knew I was going to have aliens in the books. But the aliens in the books were going to be weird, but relatable. I wanted to try to build something that was much harder to relate to.

    So, cosmic horror. Interdimensional cosmic horror.

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    BelugaCavity

    Have you had a favorite theory a fan presented to you that was wrong?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Man, I read a lot of these. I don't remember a lot of them. They happen on Reddit, where I'm like, "That's really cool. It does not fit with the worldbuilding I am building at all." Most of the ones that are really cool are ones that just couldn't work because of the fundamental underpinnings of the cosmere.

    People who theorize about my books... I like to feel that I put enough foreshadowing in my books that it makes, for those who are really paying attention... it does mean you can guess it. So the surprises are not as dramatic. But I like that. And so a lot of theories I read are right. Because I've signposted them. And you guys have three years between books in the Stormlight Archive to guess on these things.

    I read a lot more right theories than you might expect. But I do read a lot of wrong ones, as well.

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    Questioner

    What would happen if Sadeas, Dilaf, The Lord Ruler, Ruin, and Rayse got together for a drink? Would they talk civilly, or fight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The standout there is Dilaf. Dilaf just does not get along with people. Ever, really. I feel like the others could have a really good conversation. And The Lord Ruler would eventually storm out, insisting he doesn't belong in this conversation. The rest of them... depends on when you get Ruin. Rayse and Sadeas get along really well. That's a team-up you don't want.

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    Spencer Walther

    Lopen clearly states he doesn't consider himself a broken character, like all the other Knights. Do you consider him a broken character?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do not. And, again, "broken" is a term with a lot of baggage, let's point that out. I would rather use the terminology that a given person is comfortable with, and let them put definitions on that themselves. Because the way I view it, I don't really view most people as "broken," even if they may use that terminology. What they might have is, they might have certain mental health issues that they haven't yet figured out how to work with that are integral to who they are. But not broken, just still practicing. And that's how I would define a lot of people, but I don't get to define it for those people, if that makes sense.

    And one of the things I like to do is to have a variety of viewpoints in my stories, to make sure I'm kind of running the gamut on this, and I think some of the characters in my stories would say, "Yeah. Something in me's broken. You can talk about all the funny business you want, Brandon, about just needing to practice. Something in me's broken, and I need to learn to deal with that. Either fix it, or learn to not let it ruin me." And there are people that I've talked to, that that's how they've described it.

    I've talked to other people who say, "No, I'm not broken. 'Broken' implies I'm a less valuable person, because of that phrasing." That is something that I never want to imply. And so it is a dangerous word to use. I let people in fiction use it, because people in real life use it. But just wanted you to be aware of that.

    So, the idea that a person needs to be "broken" to be a Knight Radiant is a part of the world that a lot of people talk about. I actually intend Lopen to be a counterargument to that. But people in-world would disagree with me. They'd say, "No no no, he's got some of these things." But if Lopen has them, we all have them. So there are no not-broken people, which also makes the world "broken" just completely wrong phrase to use, if that makes sense.

    So, that is how I view it. But I admit that some of my characters would disagree with me.

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    Rafael DePaulo

    What Knights Radiant orders would Rand, Mat, and Perrin belong to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I built the Knights Radiant orders so that people could naturally fit into multiples. And so, for instance, you could very easily see Mat as a Lightweaver. I just totally think that that is a natural and nice fit for Mat. But it's not the only thing that will work for Mat. But it is definitely where I would place him most naturally.

    Where would I put Rand? Rand, if you look at kind of his powerset and his theme in the stories, is probably Bondsmith. That's probably a very good match for Rand's narrative theme. He is probably very Windrunner in his characterization through a lot of it. There are lots of arguments.

    And Perrin's kind of naturally going to either be another Lightweaver, because of the art aspect to Perrin, making and creating. But probably is gonna be a Stoneward or Willshaper instead. In fact, Willshaper fits him really well for various thematic reasons. So I'd probably stick Perrin in Willshaper. Working with the stone, plus moving and traveling to Shadesmar, or being able to see into Shadesmar, just kind of fits him really well.

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    Jarett Braden

    With a huge interconnected work like the Cosmere, do you ever worry when introducing a new concept in a book? How it may affect past and future novels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do. This is the biggest challenge of having a large, interconnected universe like this. And the farther you write, the more difficult and dangerous this becomes. And this is why I need to have a large team, and some really solid beta readers. Because every writer, when writing a book, can get a little myopically focused on that book only. Which can be a good thing; most writers, it doesn't matter, because that book is going to be that book. But because the interconnectedness and the continuity of the Cosmere is so important to me, it's really handy to have a lot of people looking over my shoulder saying, "Are you sure you want to do that? Because it has this ramification here." We're not gonna catch all of them. But I do like that protection, and it is something that I think about quite a bit.

    It is one of the reasons why I tried to build the underpinnings of the cosmere to be adaptable to a lot of different of the types of magic systems I type to write. This is why these fundamentals of Fortune and Identity and Connection are really what kind of drive creating the magic systems. You're often going to see me wanting to create magic systems that do similar things. And having these sort of magic system underpinnings that both drive me to ask "what new could I do with this?" but also have an intended connectivity between them is really helpful in a lot of different ways.

    But it is dangerous, yes. And if I were going to give advice on that, it would be that make sure your fundamentals 1) naturally fit the type of systems that you would want to build, and 2) have enough versatility that they can be adapted to a variety of different styles of system. And stay away from some of the big problems, like time travel. Very early on, I'm like, "Cosmere can time travel into the future. You can speed things up for yourself, you can slow things down, your movement through space. But you cannot go backward." And having a few rules like that... there are not alternate dimensions in the cosmere. There are different planes of existence. But there are not alternate realities. We are not going to have the sort of things. (That I played with in Steelheart, because I knew I didn't have it in the cosmere. The Wheel of Time loves to play with alternate continuities as one of its themes of magic, and I love it. But it was built in and baked in from the beginning and used very well well. I didn't want to go down that rabbit hole.)

    Make a few rules like that, and I think that's helpful from writing yourself out of problems with solutions that break everything. And let's just say that it is very hard to not do that, as evidenced by many film series which have a lot of different people working on them who can make their films work, but often will break the rest of the continuity in order to do so. And we can't afford to do that in the Cosmere. That's not something that I want to do.

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    Christopher Gearheart

    I was wondering what your approach was for building magic systems? Do you start with broad strokes and themes and develop powers from there? Or do you start with the powers themselves? Also, how much do you change the system through your revisions process?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Generally, magic system is one of those things that I lock in pretty solidly and then stick to, except for that one big revision point. (Which, for a series, is generally after the first book.) Why that works so well for me is, a lot of times a magic system, I'm not gonna know how much flexibility it has for storytelling, how visually it works, and all of these sorts of things until I've written with it.

    Whether I start with the powers or the themes, it's basically been even, 50/50. Mistborn, I started with the powers, and then built the themes out of it. Basically, I started with some cool visuals on manipulating the metals. I then built the heist story. (Those who know the history of Mistborn know that I wrote an entire book that was not a heist story before I wrote Mistborn that used the magic. We'll release that someday. I call it Mistborn Prime. So I had those powers in hand.) Then I built the rest of them kind of out of what would I want for a thieving crew.

    And with Stormlight, I started with themes. The theme being: I want something that evokes the idea of the fundamental forces. (Though, of course, changed to Rosharan.) I kind of built the religion and the world, and then developed powers naturally out of that to see what would work.

    So I've gone both directions for the two of my major fantasy series. And I found both very effective.

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    Kandra Cosplay

    If you were a kandra in a true body, what would you make your skeleton out of?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would want some stone skeleton, of like, marble or obsidian or something like that. You can see from the things I do, I love the colors of stone. It's where Stormlight Archive kind of came from. I just love the grain and the feel of rock. So that's what I would go with.

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    Questioner

    When planning multiple eras in Mistborn, did you know, for example, all the metals and magic when you published The Final Empire? Or did you leave open areas that you hinted at so that you could later explore and fill in the magic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Final Empire is an excellent example, because it established what my model became. I wrote Final Empire, having an idea, but not have the entire nin-book sequence plotted. Not even the three-book sequence. I wrote that one and said, "Let's just write the book and see if it works." This is generally what I like to, rather than planning out the whole series. The exception to this was Stormlight, which needed the entire series planned out first. But with Mistborn, I was able to write the first book having ideas of what I wanted to do, but just make that book right. And then I sat down and said, "All right. The first book worked. I have the characters where they work. Now let's build the series." And when I did that, I went into a lot more depth on the metals.

    But I did still leave... I knew, basically, what the other metals were gonna do, but I didn't have the mechanics down. Because I wasn't sure if it was gonna work. Playing with time, and all the stuff in Feruchemy where I'm playing with Connection and things like that, these were all kind of fundamentals of the cosmere that I wasn't 100% sure how I wanted to play out. So I basically kinda did the "best of both worlds." I left those holes knowing what they were probably going to be. But I was very careful not to give too much about them in the original trilogy, just in case what I wanted to do didn't end up working.

    And that's worked out pretty well. I did manage to finish writing books two and three of Mistborn before I released the first one, so I could make sure that the continuity on the narrative really worked. Still, there are some things that I would change. I was much younger as a writer back then. I think some of the stuff in the third book, though it clicks together, it doesn't click together quite as well as I wanted to. Ending of the first book, I've talked about before. But I'm pleased with that process. Though every author has to use a different method, I do suggest trying that one. It's worked very well both for Mistborn and for Skyward. Worked a little worse in Reckoners, to be honest. Because the first book, I did not deal with any multi-dimension stuff, but I built it in after. Wrote the first book, went back, made sure the first book worked, then I wrote book two and three. And I was never quite satisfied with how the interdimensionality worked in that series. I think the magic system ended up cutting a few too many corners. So, in that case, doing it from the get-go from book one, instead of writing book one and then building it, might have worked better. Book one remains the strongest of the Steelheart series, I feel, because of that reason.

    Regardless, it's been an effective method. It worked very worked Mistborn. It worked very well for Mistborn Era 2. And it has worked really well in Skyward so far.

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    Jane Sagan

    Is diabetes prominent in Vorin women? Or is there physiology and that of the sweeteners different enough that the diet affects their bodies differently?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, I would say no. For a couple of reasons. One is, it's not like they're eating candy. They do eat candy, but I would say, glycemically and things like this, their average meal is not going to be as high as our average meal, even, modern-day, because their grains are not refined. Yes, they're adding sweeteners to things, but a lot of them are fruit sweeteners. And they're getting probably less of a load than a person eating a bowl of white rice in our culture. So, no.

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    Michael Walton

    Which of the villains from your books would you vote for as President of the United States

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ummm... Hrathen, probably. Hrathen is probably your best shot at someone who, at the end of the day, you would be okay with them having been President. Do not let Taravangian anywhere near the Presidency. Lord Ruler, better than Taravangian; still a pretty bad choice. Let's just go with that, Hrathen.

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    Matthew

    One big thing in epic fantasy books that I find too hard to swallow: nobody has the same name.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is for convenience's sake. I've actually done it where I used the same name before. It gets so confusing to readers. So confusing. In fact, when I do it on purpose, my editors usually change it, because it is so confusing.

    Like, in Stormlight, what I'll end up doing, is I'll say, there are core names. Kaladin's name is based off Kalak, the Herald. You've got two characters basically with the same name, where one is based off the other. Kaladin's name is the Rosharan's version of, like Matthew. There is this saint: this Herald. But the way I do it so that we don't get too confused is I change each one a little bit. Kaladin is their version of Matthew. Shallan is their version of Mary. She's named after Shallash. So you'll see a lot of Shalla- names and Kala- names. And, as we had earlier, we have Ishikk, who's named after Ishi. You'll have a lot of Ishi- names. This is my acknowledgement to you that, in a real fantasy world, more of them would probably have a lot of duplicate names, like we have now.

    Granted, there are cultures where there are much fewer duplicate names than exist in, say, English and Chinese and things, where a lot of duplicate names are used. But you are noticing a correct thing, and I just have to say, for writing convenience, this is one of those things where fiction has to be stranger than truth. Because otherwise it just gets so confusing.

    But I bet you could write a book where you did it, it was a plot feature, that a lot of people have the same name, that you could make it work.

    You've requested a couple of characters in Stormlight that have the same name. Well, I've done that... kind of. That's about as close as we'll get. I do have some minor characters that I'll use the same name for. But like I said, my continuity editor really, really, really likes it when I don't do that, and asks me to change them.

    It is fun that you noticed this, because this is one of those things ('cause I love linguistics) that I notice a lot. And I'm like, "Is there a way around this?" And I try to find ways that work both for the convenience of telling stories, but also work for worldbuilding realism. Maybe I'll put two characters of the same name in just for you in the future. We'll see.

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    Questioner

    As a writer, what are your feelings of altering characters' race and gender when adapted for TV or movies.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am generally going to be against this. Because normally what's happening is, they're whitewashing the characters. Normally, they are taking books that are more diverse and they are making them not as diverse, and there is a problem with Hollywood with... even when we've talked about doing Stormlight, they are really resistant to casting Asian characters in the main roles in Hollywood. This has just been a hard thing to get across to them. I think there are situations where it is appropriate, depending on the property. This is probably a bad example, because it's a terrible movie, but I know a lot of people were up in arms about Aang being cast as a caucasian character. But then a lot of the fandom said, "No, he's kind of supposed to be. This is who he is." But then they also recast, what, Katara and her brother as white characters? When they weren't supposed to be, and are very clearly not. That is just insulting.

    I am totally fine with it in the instance of the Wheel of Time. The reason is specifically, with the Wheel of Time, what's going on is, Robert Jordan really wanted to build a society that indicated that our world is this same world, many thousands of years in the future. And he wanted to have metropolitan cities have become rural areas again over time. Sort of this regression from giant city into rural countryside. He also has a main theme in the Wheel of Time that culture is more important than race in the Wheel of Time world. They are very, very biased toward one another based on nationalism. Nationalism is a huge thing. But not based on skin color. And so because of this, the changes to, say, make the Two Rivers have black people in it works really well with Robert Jordan's worldbuilding and with the theme of the story he's trying to do.

    Plus, I am generally in favor of diversifying stories, rather than the other way. That is a political leaning of mine; I understand that people have arguments against this. And I can understand those arguments. I can understand the argument of "You should not have changed the races of the characters in the Wheel of Time; this is going contrary to..." The best arguments against say, "If you're looking for diverse stories to tell, find diverse stories that were written that way and adapt those." Which is a pretty good argument. I can't fault people for saying, "Why buy the Wheel of Time and then do this? Why not buy a story that already is like this?" I think in the instance of the Wheel of Time, it makes perfect sense. And having met the actors, they are perfectly cast to the characters. And so kind of having a race-blind casting process in that case just really worked out. But, like I said, I can see arguments on that.

    The place that it's hit me is that I have written some stories that star mostly what we would call on Earth white characters. And I'm totally fine with those stories being adapted with that cast. They all come from the same country; that makes sense. But Stormlight Archive? Getting such resistance on that really bugged me. They're like, "What if we cast this character?" I'm like, "That's great, but that character's not Dalinar, because that's not how Dalinar looks."

    You hit a nerve there, let's just say.

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    Questioner

    Will Kaladin and Kelsier ever meet? Will they get along if they did meet? Even if they don't meet, I am fascinated by the possibilities a Mistborn and a Windrunner could create by working together.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Whether they'll actually meet or not is a RAFO. I do not think they would get along very well. It takes a very special kind of person to get along well with Kelsier. Though you will, I promise, see Windrunners and Allomancers interact. (Technically, you already have, because Hoid is an Allomancer, but that's not what you're asking about.) You will see large clashes between various different magic systems in the future of the cosmere.

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    Questioner

    We know carpentry is a masculine is a masculine activity, and art is feminine. Where does something like carving fall? Would it be a form of art? Or more like carpentry?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most cases, it's gonna go carpentry, it's gonna go craft, it's gonna go masculine. Most crafts, however, in Vorin culture can kind of go each direction. And you will find a lot of husband/wife teams, where who does what gets very tricky based on their own feelings socially, and things like that. So a pen like this, I can see a team making. I can see either gender making it on Roshar. It's gonna depend on devotion, how conservative your personal culture is, and all of those sorts of things.

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    Questioner

    Have you ever considered writing one of your books primarily from the villain's point of view?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I have considered it. I do think that that is an interesting and fun thing to do, particularly if you play with "What does it mean to be a villain? What does it mean to be antagonist?" And "What does it mean to be protagonist?" The classic example being Infinity War, in which Thanos is both the villain and the protagonist of the movie at the same time. Which is really cool to see. There's also this sort of... people are the bad guys, but they're also the hero and the protagonist. This is the thieving crew, sort of thing, which is not what you're asking.

    The short answer answer is yes. I'm more likely to do a novella from that viewpoint, most likely, because of various things. But there's a decent chance I will sometimes do an actual full novel from the villain's viewpoint.

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    Swanson188

    Would you say that the genetic investitures are the result of a specific gene only available in their system of origin, or are they a trait that CAN exist in other systems (but lack the shard's key to access it)?

    The best example I can think of is could a feruchemist be born on Roshar, but not know it because preservation is not present there in the physical realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, the way I have it right now, that couldn't happen. Your spiritual DNA, so to speak, has to do with your connection to certain Shards--and for a genetic component to occur, certain location-dependent things need to happen. It's a good question, though, and not impossible in the future of the cosmere as certain events proceed.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    I will finish Stormlight Four this week, is the goal. At the very latest, over the weekend. The last draft, sending it on to production.

    And then from there, I think my next job is to spend one week doing a revision on Songs of the Dead, is what we put in the schedule next. This is the new name of Death By Pizza. Heavy metal music influenced necromancer urban fantasy that I'm coauthoring with Peter Orullian who is a heavy metal singer. I'm gonna do a draft on that.

    And then it is writing the [Stormlight] novella for about the next month. So we'll start posting updates on that as I do that. And I think I know what the title's going to be. So we might announce that in the upcoming days. You'll be very excited by the title, I suspect.

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    Stephanie Akroyd

    What critical steps would you take to facilitate a believable descent-into-madness type character arc?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on how accurate you want to be with your psychology. This is one of those areas that I have made a special area of expertise, where I would say I'm still not an expert, but I'm better than the 10% knowledge I am in a lot of other things. And one of the things about psychology, you even heard me earlier saying Taln was wondering whether he was a crazy man or not: we talk about psychology in ways that can be very harmful or hurtful to people who are dealing with it. And you can just go read about people with Dissociative Identity Disorder and how they feel about how they're represented in media. (I'll give you a hint. It makes them really depressed how some of things things are represented in media.) And those of us who write novels, we are definitely fueling this, right?

    And you can see, if you've read the Stormlight Archive, I go both directions. I have what I hope are very accurate and realistic depictions of mental health, and I have the Fused and the Heralds, who are using more a magical sort of pop culture version of: their minds are just degrading. They don't actually have a legitimate psychological psychosis or anything like that.

    And you're gonna have to ask yourself: which direction do you want to go? I'm not gonna sit here and sit on a high horse and tell you you're just being harmful if you're just showing a descent into madness, because that can be really fun. The Shining is a great movie. And I don't think The Shining is necessarily harmful; it was done really well. But if you do things poorly, it can be very harmful. So I would say to you, number one, take some concern for that, and kind of ask yourself how you're going to approach that.

    Otherwise, one of the things I would keep in mind is that the best books that do this for me are ones where I don't catch on at first, either. And that's part of the fun of this type of story. Whether it be a Lovecraft story, or whether it be The Shining. As you are going through, you are through this character's eyes. You are experiencing the world as they experience. And you are going to believe what's written on the page is true, and that the character is trustworthy, until it becomes evident it isn't. And that moment can be really cool. And keep in mind that that's one of the big reveals that you're gonna have for your story. And try to decide where that breaking point is gonna be. And make sure that that one works. If you can make that one work and then earn it, you're gonna have, I think, a stronger story.

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    Augustine Soto

    When one of your books gets a live-action adaptation, will you make a cameo? If so, which character would you like to be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My goal is to cameo in all of my adaptations as a person who dies in a different way in each movie. Or something terrible happens to them. I love this idea because I kill characters in the books, so this is, like, revenge of a sort. Basically, I get to be the Kenny for all the Cosmere films. You'll have to be watching out and see. When you see Brandon, and then a wall will fall on me. Or a koloss will throw me to be feasted upon by the others. Or I'll get tossed off a wall. Or anything like that, that's what we want to do.

    Peter Jackson did that to himself, right? In Return of the King. He gets shot with an arrow.

    I want you to be able to spot me. And then watch me die.