Recent entries

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2051 Copy

    argau

    I was delighted to read in the forward to Arcanum Unbounded that the Cosmere was inspired by Isaac Asimov’s Robots/Foundation universe. Elijah, Daneel, Hari, and Dors are some of my favorite characters ever, but I was horribly disappointed by Foundation and Earth, our de facto endpoint for the series. Since you were so kind as to step in and finish Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan’s death, have you ever considered writing anything in the Robots/Foundation universe to bring us to a more satisfying ending?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Though I too had mixed feelings about Foundation and Earth, I have come around on it over the years--and like a lot of things about it. The ultimate evolution and implementation of the three laws being one of them.

    I think every fan of the series has to come to terms with the differences between the two eras of Asimov's writing life, and the different themes of the two different "halves" of the Foundation series. Though I do prefer the tight early narratives, I can appreciate the more philosophical approach of the late narratives.

    I could see myself contributing to a themed anthology of Asimov-inspired or in universe stories, should one happen. But I don't ever see myself doing anything like you mention, in part because Asimov had collaborators he worked with that have already been doing things like continue his legacy--and who are much better suited to it.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2052 Copy

    NotOJebus

    If I held Szeth's Oathstone, smashed it up into a fine powder then snorted it, would Szeth still follow my direction?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, probably, but be warned that you're not dealing with someone terrible stable. You could push Szeth over the edge with things like this, and then you could end up in a very bad situation.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #2053 Copy

    Questioner

    Did you know from the beginning how you were planning to end [Alcatraz]? Because the whole time, I was going, "He'd better fulfill all of these promises."

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was. I'll tell you this, when I pitched that to the editor, they did not like it at all. They didn't like the idea of me ending on such a downer note. But I knew that the right way to do it was to have him give up on the series after that dark moment. A lot of the Alcatraz stuff I discovery wrote, but that ending I had from the beginning.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #2054 Copy

    Questioner

    How much time do you spend writing new material versus rewrites?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rewrites are about half of my time I'd say. Between a third and a half. So I can usually budget the same amount of time that it took to write a book to do the revisions, and each given one is a bit faster. I write at about 2,000 words a day and I revise at about 10,000 words a day, but it goes slower when I have to do new chapters. Like, I'll do 10,000 words one day, and then 2,000 the next when I have to do new stuff.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #2057 Copy

    Questioner

    So, are all birds in the cosmere referred to as chickens?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. All birds on Roshar are referred to as chickens... What's going on here is a linguistic phenomenon, where they had lots of bird types on the planet they emigrated from. But over time the word for "bird" became genericized, chicken became genericized to mean bird. That's happened to a couple things on Roshar. Wine got genericized. They don't even really have wine; they don't have grapes, but they use it genericized to mean something different.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #2058 Copy

    Blightsong

    Second sentance of the above paragraph. The plural of 'axis' is 'axes', not 'axi'.

    Stormlightning

    For the record, I don't think the "axi" thing is a grammatical error. It's more just a unique cosmere term.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    This is a Cosmere term. Stormlightning is correct.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #2059 Copy

    Argent

    None of the Alethi names seem to have a "ch" sound in them - except for Chana / Chanarach, the Herald. Do they have a sound and written symbol for it? And if not, would they use a different sound when saying or writing Chana's name ("sh" maybe?)?

    Isaac Stewart

    I could be wrong, but I think there is a symbol for "ch" in Alethi women's script.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #2060 Copy

    Argent

    In English, "N" is articulated the same way "T" and "D" are - on the alveolar ridge (as all three are nasal alveolar). It seems like in the women's script "N" belongs to a different family from "T" and "D". The former is a "left facing arrow" while the latter two are "right facing arrows", to use some very basic description of the symbol shapes. Why is that?

    Isaac Stewart

    Peter might have a better explanation for this, but because of the three sizes, we had to group things in ways that didn't always make sense. The N was a fourth letter in a set (TDL), so looking back, maybe we should've grouped N with TD instead of the L, but then that has a cascading effect, so this was the best we could do in the time we had. But we don't know exactly how the Alethi speak. There's always a chance that the Alethi Z sounds more like "dz," and the Alethi "S" sounds more like "ts" (like the German Z), in which case the SZN grouping makes a lot more sense. But that's just conjecture.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The symbol sets are all based on historical place of articulation (and articulating tongue part), and there have been some sound changes over the centuries so they don't currently all line up exactly. The t/d/r/th/l group (historically alveolar) is articulated with the tip of the tongue, and the s/z/n/sh/h group (historically postalveolar) is/was articulated with the blade of the tongue.

    The modern h sound (like h in English) used to appear only in the palindromic locations, and was written only with the diacritic. This diacritic is mirrored on the top and bottom of the character. Some writers may use only the top or bottom because lazy. Also, sometimes the diacritic can be left out entirely and people just know to pronounce it as h because it's a very common word or name.

    The h character used to stand for a weakly-voiced postalveolar non-sibilant fricative. This later shifted backward to a velar fricative (first weakly-voiced, later voiceless) as in Kholin. In modern times the h character is usually for the same h sound that we have in English. Sometimes kh is written using a combination of the k and h characters, and sometimes it's written just as h for historical reasons. Different regional dialects also shift the pronunciation one way or another.

    The L sound has also shifted. It used to be a voiced alveolar lateral fricative, and this is still seen in names like Lhan. It's now a regular L sound.

    The final group, k/g/y/ch/j, used to have dual articulation, similar to velarized postalveolar. Now the articulation has separated, with some velar and some postalveolar.

    Currently y and j are pronounced the same or differently based on class and regional dialect. So, a darkeyes name like Jost or Jest will be pronounced with a regular j sound, while with the upper class it has merged with y so that Jasnah and Jezerezeh are pronounced with a y sound. Historically they were always separate sounds.

    Miscellaneous 2017 ()
    #2061 Copy

    Argent

    That Reddit thread established that the "H" sound is produced by writing another letter, and then marking it to denote that it should be pronounced as /h/ (while still looking like the other letter, for symmetric purposes). And on that note, the name of that traditional Vorin dress is "havah" - how would that get written? Is there a dedicated symbol for /h/ when it's not a "symmetric placeholder", or would the women just pick any letter and mark both instances here? Or something else altogether? 

    Isaac Stewart

    I believe they would just use the dedicated symbol for /h/.

    Miscellaneous 2016 ()
    #2062 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The [Scadrian] calendars don't appear in Arcanum Unbounded, but they're mentioned on the map as old calendar/new calendar. Since the Lord Ruler actually kept the calendar the same, what this is referring to is only the placement of seasons, since those have to change from year to year because of the orbit.

    Miscellaneous 2015 ()
    #2064 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    By the way, Brandon originally wrote the prologue to The Alloy of Law soon after finishing The Alloy of Law and he meant it to be the prologue to Shadows of Self. Then he decided that The Alloy of Law needed a better prologue than its current chapter 1, which was originally the prologue.

    Miscellaneous 2015 ()
    #2066 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    So, Brandon confirmed in the preface to this version [of Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell] that Hoid is definitely not there.

    However, I wouldn't rule out the person I thought was Hoid actually being someone else important.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
    #2067 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The red-headed attendant who is Jasnah Prime's ward is named Shinri Davar. Brandon considers her to be not the same person as Shallan at all, unlike Merin who he does consider to be the same person as Kaladin, if his life had gone differently. She has a completely different plot from Shallan's.

    In Prime, Jasnah is much more of a main character than Shinri is.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
    #2068 Copy

    Zea mays

    This is not a 'typo' per se, maybe it's a "translation" thing that I notice when reading the book (probably me being far too pedantic):

    In Kaladin's POV's, Moash is consistently described as a 'hawk-faced man'. What's a hawk, precious? Is it some kind of chicken?

    Them again, I can't think of an economic way of describing such a physiognomy that does not reference birds of prey.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon says it's an idiom leftover from centuries earlier.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
    #2069 Copy

    AonarFaileas

    That's just an issue of phrasing. As Lashings work by creating localized gravitational forces (don't think, it's magic ) it would have created a localized gravitational force of approximately 0.63Gs upwards relative to Szeth's current position on Roshar, which after competition from Roshar's 0.7Gs of gravity, would have left Szeth feeling only 0.07Gs, or, one tenth of the regular gravitational force.  

    Peter Ahlstrom

    No. Lashing is not a vector addition to the planet's gravity. When you use a Lashing, you dismiss the planet's gravity's influence on you entirely.

    AonarFaileas

    So it would have been a 9/20ths (45%) Lashing, then?  (0.7-0.7*0.45*2=0.07)

    Or do Lashings completely cancel out gravity and then reapply the gravitational force at a different strength?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The general rule when you do a Basic Lashing is that it replaces all other Basic Lashings (including the planet's gravity) on you or the object. The default Basic Lashing strength is 1 Roshar gravity.

    As you get more practiced you can use partial lashings or multiple Lashings, or (Kaladin does this accidentally one time) NOT dismiss the previous Lashings entirely, so that different Lashings are pulling in different directions. But usually when someone does a Lashing, you should assume that Lashing's effect is the only "gravity" that currently exists for that person or thing.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
    #2070 Copy

    Paragrin

    You know you're a Sanderfan when... You're reading Beowulf in English class, the teacher is talking about all the Christian references having been added after the original writing, and you're thinking Storming Hierocracy.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Actually Brandon did this in Elantris with a poem based on the style of Beowulf. None of the poem actually appears in the published book though. And we can't find the longer version of the poem. It's probably on a really old laptop.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
    #2071 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Elhokar's eyes were described as two different colors in different places in the first book. It also said that he looked very much like his father. So we decided to change his eye color to match Gavilar's. We need to update the first book.

    A Memory of Light Seattle Signing ()
    #2076 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Seasons on Roshar are based around the storms (ie long lighter storms in the winter, short stronger storms in the summer) rather than time or temperature

    Temperature stays fairly constant because of the lack of an axial tilt

    Despite not having traditional seasons they have the concept of seasons which must have come from somewhere else (read as: cosmere shenanigans)

    Miscellaneous 2018 ()
    #2080 Copy

    Storm Cellar

    We know Snapping is not the same in Mistborn Era 2.  We know Wayne knew he was a slider, but could not afford bendalloy for his early life. How do the poor skaa know they can burn rare metals?  Is there a ceremony, or a formal process of testing skaa for metal powers?

    (The assumption is that nobles can just give their children a mix of metals to see if any of them are reactive.)  

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are lots of ways--remember that lots of groups are seeing Allomancy as valuable to them, and are actively recruiting.  There's no formal process, at least not for everyone, though some houses do have them. But there are events, even at fairs and the like, where you can get a vial and see if you feel anything--in exchange for promises of service if you do turn out to have abilities.  Beyond that, just like getting gold foil to put on food is not horribly expensive in our world, getting little bits of many of these metals is not THAT expensive. It may not give you enough power to do anything useful, but it can be enough to tell.

    Miscellaneous 2018 ()
    #2082 Copy

    Storm Cellar

    If you have a child that can't stop making up/writing stories and never wants to sleep at night, what is the best way to encourage them without letting them be nocturnal? (Child in question is about 13.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well...I'm maybe not a great person to ask, because I was nocturnal myself.  So I don't have experience at forcing the kid to go to bed--I stayed up myself, doing exactly this.  It's not a great thing, because it can have implications for school work and the like. But I never figured it out myself.  I STILL go to bed at around 4:00am. In high school, I stayed up late and took a nap every day, which I wouldn't recommend. But making sure they have time each day to write--like piano lessons, but for stories--might be a way to channel that energy and perhaps make sure they get some done each day, and are more relaxed, as they feel the story is progressing.  This helps me a lot.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2084 Copy

    Wifrin

    I noticed on re-reading Well of Ascension is that duralumin is described as a mix between aluminum and copper. However one of the first things we are told about the metals is that each metal is paired: one base and one alloy. Copper already has brass as an alloy. Is this an error, a case of incorrect in-world understanding, or is this implying something further about aluminum?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The below reply thread covers it--when I was building these, I wan't using the alloyed-in metal(s) as being unique. Rather the purity of the original against a mixed form was my guide. I mean, steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, making it really odd compared to the others, which tend to be alloys with metallics instead of nonmetallics.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2089 Copy

    LerasiumMistborn

    Why is Dalinar so hard on himself? He values his intellectual capacities very low (Well, he constantly thinks he's dumb) and so on. Considering how wise and humane he really is, I'll admit, it's sad that he sees himself in such a negative light.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a tough one to answer. Why are people hard on themselves? It's something a lot of us tend to do, and doesn't correlate with how much we deserve it. That doesn't stop it from happening, though, even when pointed out.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2090 Copy

    LerasiumMistborn

    What was Gavilar's opinion on Dalinar? I can't help myself, but I feel Gavilar saw Dalinar more like an effective tool rather than his brother.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He DID have affection for his brother, but Gavilar had a tendency to use everyone like tools to further his goals. Including people close to him.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2091 Copy

    LerasiumMistborn

    There has been evidence that Dalinar was able to heal with Stormlight (unintentionally) even before he said his oaths. How is this possible, and if Dalinar was able to do it, why does he have all these crazy scars? We know that Stormlight healing doesn't leave scars.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2092 Copy

    vanahian

    We know that Bavadin has several 'avatars' allocated at some Shardworlds, major and minor, over the cosmere...is Austre from Nalthis one of them? Is the Wyrn of the Fjordell Empire or Jaddeth one of them?

    Or if we recall what the followers of Shu Dereth believes that 'Jaddeth rewards devotion in his followers, as well as ambition' + something you said some time ago about the ramifications of Ambition demise... Is the Wyrn or Jaddeth Himself connected with Ambition?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can expect things on Sel to be either Dominion or Devotion. People can be ambitious--even Shards--and reward ambition even if they're not specifically tied to the Shard of Ambition.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2093 Copy

    vanahian

    Any news you can share with us about the rewriting of Aether of the Night novel? I suppose that if continues inside the cosmere that story will have its own Shardworld and its own magic system... If so, can you tell us the Shardworld's name and something about its Investiture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Can't say anything right now. So RAFO.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2096 Copy

    WritesGeekyStuff

    Do you take a consciously different approach when writing YA versus writing an 'adult' fantasy? How do you vary your prose, or themes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The biggest difference tends to be that in YA, I focus in on a single character and do their story in an intense and intimate way, where in the epic fantasies I'm trying to approach it as the story of the world as it moves forward.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2097 Copy

    ZuperzubS

    In Words of Radiance, when the sailors were being killed, Jasnah/Shallan sees the flames representing the minds of the sailors vanishing in Shadesmar, but the sailors don't appear in the cognitive realm. In contrast, in Secret History, we see that all sapient entities do transition to the Cognitive Realm before going to the Beyond. Is there something strange here? Or am I just overthinking this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're not overthinking it--but it's also not as strange as you might think. The one seeing the spirits on Scadrial was in a different state than Jasnah/Shallan.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2098 Copy

    Blightsong

    Nightform seems to be a form capable of powers but doesnt seem like it destroys the original [singer] and replaces it with a Fused like other forms of power, at least based on what they have said in the Listener songs and its surrounding historical context. Am I right here?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #2099 Copy

    Blightsong

    I noticed in Dragonsteel that the Sho Del use silver sheathes and that stuck out as an atypical material for an ancient technology scabbard, does the metal hold some kind of significance within Sho Del culture?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This was done intentionally, and will probably still be a thing when Dragonsteel enters canon--but that's a LONG ways away, so don't read too much into it for now.