Recent entries

    Skyward release party ()
    #1951 Copy

    Steeldancer

    What happens when you flare copper?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What happens when you flare copper? Various different things can happen when you flare copper. I'll RAFO that for now. [...] I'll delve into that more, I don't want to delve into it too much right now, you'll find out, probably in Era 3, some of the things that can happen with copper.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #1953 Copy

    UppityDarkeyes

    Would you be willing to confirm that the use of 'they' pronouns for the Sibling is because the Sibling is non-binary? Since apparently some people are confused on this point.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The sibling did not view themselves as male or female. (And considered it odd that so many spren would adopt human genders.)

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #1956 Copy

    XMikethetrikeX

    A question regaurding Feruchemical iron:

    So, while Sazed was guarding one of the gates to Luthadel, he tapped weight to compensate, he had to tap pewter as well. Also, when he was climbing a tree, his strength to weght ratio rised, making it easier for him to climb it. Wax doesn't have to do this- when fighting Miles on the train, he's fine without any sort of muscular enhancement, and when he is climbing in the sets base, he notes that he does not make himself lighter because it would simply decrease his weight and strength equally (in contrast to Sazed climbing the tree).

    So, is this difference for the same reason people can push/ pull on atium, being the you hadn't fully developed your idea for the cosmere yet? Or is it some other reason?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmm. I think the mistake is more on me writing the Wax scene than in the original. (For him climbing, specifically.) I'll put Peter on this and see if it's a continuity error we want to fix.

    Publishers Weekly Q & A ()
    #1957 Copy

    Michael M. Jones

    What's next for you with this series and in general?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My outline for Skyward calls for four books. The sequel will come out a year from this November. Starting in January, I plan to work on the fourth [book] in The Stormlight Archive, and that'll take about 18 months. I split my time between that series and other projects to prevent myself from getting burned out. When I finish a big epic fantasy, I need something different to get excited about for a while. So I'll jump back into this series after the next Stormlight.

    Publishers Weekly Q & A ()
    #1959 Copy

    Michael M. Jones

    Are there any particular messages that you hope readers will take away from this book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't really go into books with a message. I like to explore the characters and their passions, and the theme, without any overt agenda. I just want readers to be able to see through the eyes of people who are different from them, to see that our biases do affect how we perceive the world—and that's both a good and bad thing. I just want them to come out of the story saying, "That was great, let me think about this some more."

    Publishers Weekly Q & A ()
    #1960 Copy

    Michael M. Jones

    Something noteworthy about your work is the massive interconnectivity. Is Skyward connected to any of your universes or continuities?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's connected to a novella I wrote, which explored an interesting premise in faster-than-light travel. I prefer not to publicize which one, because the spoiler at the end of that story related to a twist near the end of Skyward. This isn't connected to my big epic fantasy universe, the Cosmere, for several reasons. First, the way space travel is possible here doesn't work with that setting. Also, this incorporates lore from Earth, and I try to keep Earth and the Cosmere very distinct and separated.

    Publishers Weekly Q & A ()
    #1961 Copy

    Michael M. Jones

    What kind of research did you do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mainly, it was about fighter pilots and what they go through, what g-force feels like, stuff like that. I'm indebted to a couple of real-life fighter pilots for helping me to get it right. Also, I had to research what it's like to live in societies where the machine of war grinds people up out of necessity to keep the country alive, what it does to them. I took inspiration from real-world regimes to create an amalgamation, which still doesn't go as far as it could have. I just included subtle markers to the reader to suggest the sort of stress they live under.

    Publishers Weekly Q & A ()
    #1962 Copy

    Michael M. Jones

    One thing we tend to expect in YA is the presence of romance. There's no real sign of it in Skyward, though. Was this your intention from the start, or did the characters just not work out that way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was more the characters. In my first draft, I tried to shoehorn a romance in. I like romance; you'll find them in my adult books. But here, it didn’t fit the characters or the theme, and it felt inappropriate. This is a very traumatic time for Spensa, who's focused in every way on becoming a pilot and finding out the secrets of her past, and romance just didn't work. So I revised in the direction the characters demanded.

    The obvious pairing was Spensa and Jerkface. That’s where I was trying to go, but it felt like a cheesy romance in the middle of an action-adventure story about finding out who you really are, and about going into battle, and all of that stress and pressure. Maybe someday I'll release the deleted scenes and people can see how poorly it worked.

    Publishers Weekly Q & A ()
    #1963 Copy

    Michael M. Jones

    Spensa comes across as overconfident and bombastic at times, while her AI sidekick, M-Bot, is both comic and tragic. What else can you tell us about developing characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They really play off one another. With M-Bot, I needed both a friend and a foil for Spensa, since there's a lot of conversation between them. I also needed an outside perspective. Spensa's culture has problems. Humankind crashed on this planet decades ago, and has been subject to these alien invasions and air raids for so long, that their entire society is built around the machine of war to protect themselves. The technology and temperament revolve around getting pilots into the air at all costs, and it’s skewed everything as a result. I needed an outside voice to ask questions and raise concerns, even if it's through humor.

    Because Spensa is such an extreme character, one of the challenges was to depict that a person who's spent most of her life alone, hunting rats, while imagining herself to be a great warrior, is going to have a warped perspective on what it means to be a fighter pilot, weirder than the rest of the society might.

    In a way, she's a stand-in for someone like me, who enjoys larger-than-life action movies but has never experienced real violence. She’s like the person in the seat with the popcorn, who’s confronted by the reality and discovers it’s not what she imagined.

    Publishers Weekly Q & A ()
    #1964 Copy

    Michael M. Jones

    What was your inspiration for Skyward?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ever since I was young, I’ve loved the quintessential "boy and his dragon story." My favorite is Jane Yolen’s Dragon’s Blood. It was one of the very first fantasy books I ever read, and it left a lasting impression on me. But there was also Anne McCaffrey’s The White Dragon, Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, and the How to Train Your Dragon film series. I love this archetype of story, and I’ve always wanted to do one, but I held off until I could find a new direction in which to approach it. Eventually, it drifted away from "a boy and his dragon" towards "a girl and her spaceship."

    About four years ago, I hit on this idea, but I only had the framework. I still needed setting, characters, things that would really make me excited about the entire story. As a writer, it’s always about digging down deep into what I love about certain stories—what are the essential elements, what are the concepts that thrill me, and can I build those back up into something new? The more I built this back up, the more excited I became.

    For most things, like worldbuilding and plots, I do outlines. But characters develop by instinct, as their voices emerge. The character of Spensa came to me almost fully formed. I was intrigued and enthralled by the idea of this girl who had been raised on stories from our world, the myths and legends, even ones we know are fiction like Conan the Barbarian. She sees herself as the latest in a long line of warriors, except her actual job is hunting rats and selling them for meat on the street. She has this idea of who she should be, what her destiny is, but in real life she’s just barely getting by. Characters come out of conflict, and hers is the contrast between what her life is like and what she thinks it should be, the difference between perception and experience.

    Subterranean Press Interview ()
    #1965 Copy

    Gwenda Bond

    Is it really the end? Could you ever potentially come back to Legion?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd like to do more with Legion—though it's likely to be in the form of other media. We have a television show in the works, and I've toyed with doing some original audio stories with Stephen in the lead. (Though the Marvel show Legion probably means I'll need to change the name of mine if we do get the show off the ground.)

    Subterranean Press Interview ()
    #1966 Copy

    Gwenda Bond

    You've talked a bit elsewhere about how this is some of the most personal storytelling you've done. What do you think you've discovered or uncovered through exploring mental health and the mind through the story of Stephen Leeds? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am often quite certain I know (in general) what a reader's reaction will be when I release a story.  That's part of my job—to create something that produces an emotional response. Art is the act of inspiring emotion. Once in a while, however, I do something for the emotion it inspires in me, with less regard for how I think it will be received. Of course, usually these two are one and the same—the emotion it gives me will be the emotion most readers will feel.

    This story is different. It is partially about mental health, yes, but it's also about the voice of a storyteller finding balance between all the voices crying for his attention.  It's about the unwritten stories.

    You see, as a young writer, I never worried if I'd have time to get to all the stories I wanted to tell. I was far more focused on whether or not I'd even have a career. I wrote assuming that if a story didn't work now, I'd eventually find a place for it. But as I've grown older, the realities of aging have begun to whisper to me that I need to stay focused—that if I want to complete my life's work, some other stories will simply have to be abandoned. That has been a hard realization. I don't know if anyone else will see that meaning in this story, or how this even relates—but it is certainly part of Lies of the Beholder for me. That's the part I say is very personal, but which means it's more difficult to gauge how readers will respond—because so much of this is a very individual story.  

    Subterranean Press Interview ()
    #1967 Copy

    Gwenda Bond

    The mysterious Sandra plays a big part in this final story—did you know from the beginning what her role would turn out to be or was this ending a surprise to you? (Without spoiling anything, of course!)

    Brandon Sanderson

    With my shorter works like this, I tend to let the story evolve over time more than I do with longer stories. This means more discovery, as I'm not sitting down with a framework—the goal, often, is to practice other skills in my writing. (Things that my novel writing doesn't teach me.) In this case, I had ideas for Sandra, and some of those ended up going all the way through—but some I discarded over time. I'm not one who is "surprised" by my writing, however. I don't generally like that phrasing. Sometimes as you're working on a piece, you discover a thread or theme that intrigues you—so you dig into it further, then develop it. Sometimes this means the final piece of art doesn't match the outline. It's not really a surprise so much as a common side effect of the writing process.

    Subterranean Press Interview ()
    #1968 Copy

    Gwenda Bond

    I'm curious how you develop Leeds' aspects. Do they come to you fully formed? Did you get attached to any of the aspects in particular as you write them? Do you have a favorite?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Generally, I don't play favorites with characters. If they all haven't been my favorite at some point in the writing process, then I'm doing something wrong. But creating characters, at the same time, is the most difficult part of the process for me to quantify. No character comes fully formed; it's always a struggle to find their voice. Yet I always know that voice is out there to find, and have an instinct for when it's wrong. So the process of finding it is more a search than it is a building project.

    Subterranean Press Interview ()
    #1969 Copy

    Gwenda Bond

    Lies of the Beholder finds Stephen Leeds in a more precarious place—psychologically and otherwise—than we've ever seen him. What are the challenges of writing a character like this with so many aspects? Was this a difficult story to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This was a very difficult story to write, but not because of all the aspects. They've always made the story easier, not harder. Being able to take an individual's personality and split it into various themes and ideas...well, that was fun, and helped me understand him a great deal.

    The challenge of this story was finding myself wanting to explore the more philosophical and conceptual side of what it means to be Stephen Leeds—and why I related to him specifically as a character. I had to decide if I wanted this ending to be like the other two novellas—pretty straightforward detective mysteries—or if I'd let myself go off into something more conceptual.

    In the end, I went more conceptual, which I felt was appropriate to ending this series. However, it does mean this story was a challenge in that I was dealing with some heady themes while trying to do justice to the actual mystery. I'm not 100% sure if those two ever ended up balancing right, but I do think this was the correct way to go with the ending.

    Subterranean Press Interview ()
    #1970 Copy

    Gwenda Bond

    Before we jump in on the third installment [of Legion], can you tell me a little about where this idea came from and how it developed into this novella series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was talking with my friend Dan Wells, who was writing a story about a schizophrenic. I started brainstorming this idea about a person whose hallucinations helped them, kind of turning it into a super power. Dan laughed and said, "That’s much more a Brandon story than a Dan story," and he was right—so eventually, I decided to write it myself.

    Miscellaneous 2016 ()
    #1971 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    [Discussion of Lightweavers manipulating other forms of electromagnetic radiation]

    But the ultimate form (That Brandon said would be too much to be practical both in needed stormlight and application) would be the control of Gamma Radiation. If this could be harnessed, Lightweavers could literally become mini nukes, or death guns. The biggest downside to making Gamma radiation would be the damage the lightweaver would most likely suffer. So gamma radiation is impractical but its a fun thought experiment. 

    The best part of this whole speculation was how excited Brandon was about my train of thought. I don't know if anyone had brought up this train of thought before. But he was happy to remind me that things will get pretty interesting when Lightweavers discover lasers and start using them in combat.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #1972 Copy

    unchainedt

    [The Oathgate map] can't be a very early Rosharan piece, because it lists the Shattered Plains, which weren't shattered when humans came. It also list all the current kingdom names, and the human kingdoms wouldn't have existed anywhere except Shinovar during the early days before humans ventured out elsewhere.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Anything on the artwork that uses that font is an annotation by Nazh.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #1973 Copy

    LoneWarmonger

    Can you write me something about Dalinar, who's my favorite character, that'll make me happy?:)

    Seriously, I'm very sensitive and Dalinar has to deal with some rough stuff in this book. My heart aches for him constantly, and I need a few words for comfort.:)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dalinar has indeed dealt with some rough stuff, but most of that comes from the fact that he is willing to turn and face it down--which is sometimes, the only way to deal with it long-term. So while you can let your heart ache for him, also let it be the ache of someone who was willing to pull the thorn from their foot instead of continuing to walk upon it.

    And if you want something that might make you happy, in the original version of the book I forced Dalinar to have to kill Elhokar. I backed off from this when I rewrote the book for publication, realizing (I think rightfully) that I didn't need to push him into that, and the story worked better if he could help Elhokar instead of destroy him.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1974 Copy

    Maya

    Before I read Oathbringer, I decided that if I had to pick an Order, I would be an Edgedancer. And then we got to the very end of Oathbringer, Mayalaran. It was very interesting, because my name is Maya, and I'm an Edgedancer, and I have long brown hair. And it kind of threw me for a loop. So I have to ask, who did you base that character off of?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That character is not based on anyone specific, but maybe I was channeling you somehow.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1975 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you tell me something about Hoid that nobody really knows?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I get asked this enough that I've run out of the easy facts. So usually, I have to RAFO that, just because rattling them off is really hard to do, the random facts ones. I used to be able to 'em, like early, I'm like, "This, that." But now, what do I say that won't be a spoiler? That's not known by anybody?

    Questioner

    Let me ask you this. Is Hoid basically collecting these different Investitures from all the different planets?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You have definitely seen him trying to do this on multiple worlds. You have seen evidence of him using Breaths and Allomancy, and you have seen him... do something like Lightweaving that he calls Lightweaving, and you have also seen him try to get AonDor and fail. That's in the extra bonus scene in Elantris.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1976 Copy

    Questioner 1

    [Warbreaker] ends on, you could totally write a second one. Is that in the works?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is, but it's kind of a distant plan. It's kind of just more for fun. I wrote this-- I had already written Way of Kings, and I wrote this as a prequel to Way of Kings on a different world, and then it got published before Way of Kings got published. But the characters from this were already continuity in Way of Kings, so I just kept using them, because I figured it works out. Really, Warbreaker, I see it as Vasher's (and Nightblood, the sequel), the prequel, to where he came from, who was Kaladin's swordmaster in the first version of Way of Kings back when Kaladin was training to be a Shardbearer in the first book. Vasher was a major part of that, and Warbreaker was a flashback to where he'd come from.

    Questioner 2

    Vasher is Zahel, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Vasher is Zahel from The Stormlight Archive. Who is still kind of the swordmaster, but he's no longer Kaladin's, it didn't work out that way. But he ends up as Renarin's instead.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1977 Copy

    Questioner

    In between the first five [Stormlight books] and the second five, are you personally taking a ten-year break?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it shouldn't be ten years. I do plan to write the third Mistborn trilogy. (Second trilogy being four books. But, you know.) I do plan to write the second Mistborn trilogy before I do that. But those should be 200K words, which means I should be able to write one, do a novella, write one, do a novella, write one. So we're talking about probably that taking me five years to do all those. And then I come back. So it's probably a five-year break, would be my guess, during which you get a trilogy of Mistborn books. We have to work in Elantris there somewhere, but I have to stay focused at the same time, so it's kind of hard.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1978 Copy

    Questioner

    Matrim Cauthon, Kelsier, and Vasher all decide they need to get together and run a heist on Hoid. How do they do it? Why? And what are they looking for? Assuming they know where his "hideout" is...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mat has to be persuaded. He doesn't think this is worth it. Once he knows about Fortune, he'd be interested.

    Kelsier wants to beat him to a pulp.

    Vasher is very utilitarian about it, and agrees that having access to him would be smart, but dangerous.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1980 Copy

    Questioner

    I also had a question about Sazed. When you were writing him as a character. So, I noticed he says "I think" a lot, which is a very Japanese thing to do.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. So, I've used this before; Galladon does it too, "kolo." A lot of Earth languages do it. Japanese is one, Korean does it. And it is one of these things-- we don't do it the same way in English. "You know?" But it is one of those things, and it is a cultural thing from the Terris people, and should be a tick that will help you pick out people who have been socialized like Terris people.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1981 Copy

    Questioner

    At the end, Wit, with the little girl and the doll and bring the doll to life, it reminded me of Warbreaker.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, he was using Breath for that. He was using Breath he had gotten from somewhere, I'll say, but it was actually the other world's magic system. Vivenna was using them, too, in Oathbringer. When you see her fighting with her cloak. That's an actual fighting style people would do; her cloak's doing some extra stuff.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1982 Copy

    Questioner 1

    In The Stormlight Archive, do we ever find out how the Assassin in White, how he gets the sword?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that should be next book.

    Questioner 2

    And does it intertwine any more with Warbreaker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh... that you're gonna have to wait a little while for. You're talking about Nightblood. I thought you were talking about the Honorblade. Next book will explain how he got the Honorblade. How he ends up with Nightblood, really how Nightblood got onto the planet, is gonna take a little while. I will work it in. But it's gonna take a while.

    Questioner 2

    Does that sword have a character arc, because it feels--

    Brandon Sanderson

    The sword is important and relevant to multiple series.

    Questioner 2

    It's getting better.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He has learned some things in the intervening years. He learns real slowly.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1983 Copy

    Questioner

    You have written before on Reddit that you had to add some scenes for Perrin in the epilogue, even though the majority of the epilogue was Jordan's. Did you have to figure out endings for any other characters, or did he write them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did have to come up with endings for other major characters. Other than Perrin, they were strongly suggested by the notes or by the books. And technically, he had in the notes, Perrin's absolute end. One of the few things that it said was, "Perrin ends up as king." So, his absolute end. But I did have to do lesser than Perrin, but still some major.

    Questioner

    Perrin finding Faile. Was that Jordan's? Or was that you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was me. He did write the scene-- I think this is the epilogue, where Mat comes back to Tuon, and things like that. Like, that whole scene was finished. The whole scene where Rand comes out of the cavern, all that stuff was finished. Some of the stuff with... Cadsuane, we had to extrapolate. Not extrapolate, he had some of the things in the notes. Some of the other ones, we had to. Others you would consider main characters, we decided on. Harriet decided on a couple of things.

    Questioner

    Galad and Gawyn?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm gonna have to RAFO that, because I think Harriet has not wanted me to go down that path. I would say that major chunks of the Egwene and Gawyn plot were finished and written, particularly a lot of the stuff in Towers of Midnight. But there's a few things she's asked me to stay away from. One is who decided what happened to Egwene. Harriet has asked me to ease off on that one.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1988 Copy

    Questioner

    The device the Ire were planning on using in Secret History. Were they testing it for something?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They actively wanted it to work there.

    Questioner

    Like, say, something involving Sel and the Spiritual Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are different applications that they had considered, but I wouldn't call what they were doing a test, right then. They wanted to use it for what it was used for, yes.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1990 Copy

    OrangeJedi

    She noticed that the race in Skyward that the people are fighting are Krell, and that there are krell in Sixth of the Dusk.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is not a direct connection. It's just, the Krell are a race of aliens from Forbidden Planet, one of my favorite classic science fiction movies, and I'm just doing it in Skyward as an homage to that. Krell in Sixth of the Dusk is just me looking for a thing that sounds like the right name for the thing.

    OrangeJedi

    So they're completely unrelated?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Completely unrelated. Other than the fact that I've watched Forbidden Planet, like, six times.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1992 Copy

    Questioner

    Kaladin kind of went back on his Oaths in the second book, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. He started down that path.

    Questioner

    How could Shallan or Lightweavers go back on the Truths they make? And did Shallan do any of that in Oathbringer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, the Cryptics-- remember, how the spren is viewing this is very important. The Cryptics have an interesting relationship with truth. Harder to break your Oaths in that direction with a Cryptic. Harder to move forward, also, if you're not facing some of these things and interacting with them in the right way. But, while I can conceive a world that it could happen, it'd be really hard to for a Lightweaver to do some of the stuff. Particularly the ones close to Honor, you're gonna end up with more trouble along those lines, let's say.

    Questioner

    So then, what happened with the Lightweavers during the Recreance? Did they break their Oaths?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They did break their Oaths. I mean, breaking your Oaths as in "walking away from the first Oath" will still do it, regardless of what Order you are. You can actively say, "I am breaking my Oaths and walking away." Anyone has that option. But you also are holding the life of a spren in your hand.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1993 Copy

    Questioner

    Other Shards, other than Odium and Cultivation, can take physical form, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Are there any Shards that can't?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No.

    Questioner

    Could Ruin have taken physical form in The Well of Ascension?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, yes. What it really counts to be physical, for someone like a Shard, is subject to debate, but he could have done some of the things that others have done. There were certain restrictions on both Ruin and Preservation, because of the deal that they had set up, that would not have made doing that very useful. But there is possibility he could have.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1994 Copy

    Questioner

    In Stormlight, with Kaladin and his brother Tien, is there a connection or a reason why, whenever his brother finds a rock, that keeps coming up several times?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. So, there's a couple themes going on here. One is just the subtle theme that Tien tends to find beauty in things that Kaladin finds dull. That's, of course, kind of the metaphor. But Tien also was a budding Lightweaver, and he saw color and light a little bit differently than other people did. And he has the same general effect that you'll see Shallan having on people, which is how the Lightweaver views you influences a little bit more how your mood is, and things like that... And there is a magical element to that, as well. There's both a metaphoric reason and an in-world reason.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1996 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Really, the third [White Sand graphic novel] is where we've done the most work, because authors-- this happens to a lot of us. Early work, we're good at doing scenes, and we're bad at endings, we're bad at bringing them together. And that's one of the things that I got better at over the years. And the ending of this one had some good things, but it had some really off-kilter things that we're fixing.

    Questioner

    Are they gonna go to [Darkside]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Don't have the plans yet, because I never wrote that book. But I do still have the outline, so it's possible that I'll go and I'll get with Ric. (Who I really like; Ric has been great to work with. One of the best experiences I've had in collaborating has been working with Ric.) I can see myself saying, "Here are our story beats. I'm doing some dialogue, you're translating." We can maybe do something. But I can't promise.

    The other thing is, we have that old Mistborn script, from the video game, that I could also turn into a graphic novel.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1997 Copy

    Questioner

    I liked Snapshot quite a bit. Is there any chance you're gonna do more with that world in the future? Crossing over with Legion, or anything?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's possible. They're kind of in the same cycle of me exploring reality and [plots], slightly futuristic. Snapshot, right now, is the best shot that we have as a movie. The screenplay came in, and it's great. It is better than the story is, which is fantastic. It's what you want to have happen with a screenplay, you want to have a collaboration, and someone take and integrate and do a better job. It's the first time I've gotten a screenplay back that has been better than the original... So, we have a really good shot, I think, at that one. The screenwriter knocked it out of the park.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1998 Copy

    Questioner

    You have a good amount of accountants in your books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    My mother is an accountant. So accounting is one of my go-to references to my Mom. She's an accountant for the city of Idaho Falls. So that is why so many accountants pop up in my books.

    Questioner

    Is that where [Lightsong], is that a direct, for her?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. [Lightsong] is also based on a friend of mine who is a computer programmer, and you don't have computer programmers in fantasy worlds. So I'm like, "Well, what's the closest thing to that?"

    Footnote: The questioner and Brandon both refer to Llarimar, but it was Stennimar who was the accountant.
    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #1999 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you deal with hecklers? Do you ignore them, do you take their advice?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, it depends. Hecklers, I ignore. Criticism, I don't. I am lucky in that I have a team, and I, these days, have my team watch. Like, "You read the one-star reviews. Tell me if there are things popping up that I need to pay attention to," and things like that. Reading one-star reviews is generally a bad experience, but reading three-star reviews is usually a really handy experience for you to do. That's what you're looking for, those three-stars, the people that could have loved the book-- and if you give it three stars, you liked it, but there were things that bugged you. And if you start seeing themes like that pop up, try to address them.

    But also understand that art is about taste. Every type of art. And you are going to write things that are the right piece of art, but that somebody doesn't like. Just like some people don't like my favorite food. Some people hate it. I like mac and cheese, other people hate it. I have a friend who hates ice cream. I'm like, "What? Who hates ice cream?" But he hates ice cream. It's okay. So, learn to separate taste from things that are actually skill level problems. And as you're a new writer, in particular, focusing on craft, just practicing, is more important than the feedback, often, on your first few books. 'Cause you'll know. You'll figure it out. Your first couple books, you'll be like, "They don't have to tell me; I know what parts are not working." But you can't get better at that until you write them.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #2000 Copy

    Questioner

    How long did it take you to figure out how to kill your characters without really ticking off your readers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well. I think it still does tick them off. But my thing is, if I make sure that somebody has a satisfying resolution, even if they don't get to see it, usually people are satisfied then. So, if what the character wanted finds satisfying resolution eventually, that is where I go.