Recent entries

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #2051 Copy

    simon_thekillerewok

    A few weeks ago, you mentioned you were writing The Original with a friend, but in the SotS it looks like you haven't found anybody yet? Are those different people or is the SotS outdated?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't have contracts or permission to mention anyone's name. It's early enough along that I feel it's best to stay quiet for now.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #2052 Copy

    simon_thekillerewok

    A lot of collaborations coming up: Alcatraz 6, Death (Without Pizza), Apocalypse Guard, The Original. How many of these are you expecting to be officially coauthored?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If I release a book that someone else worked on with me, it will be co-authored. So I'd say all them--but like a lot of projects I have cooking, it's possible that any or all of them might not come together.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #2053 Copy

    OVERLYLOUDCOMMERCIAL

    I know you can't comment [on Nakomi] that's what the wish was for :). Just hoping for some day in the future is all. I'm actually more concerned with this forsaken/aMoL secret we are apparently all missing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am sure someone has figured it out; I just don't watch the theory threads for WoT as well as I used to. Either way, I'll be able to reveal it on the 10th anniversary of the book being out.

    OVERLYLOUDCOMMERCIAL

    I'm sure you're a busy man. That's good to know about the tenth anniversary, would you confirm it if it was directly asked to you? There's one theory I've seen but I don't want to push my luck :).

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wouldn't be able to confirm it or deny it.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2054 Copy

    Ankylosaurian

    I'm not sure how familiar you are with superhero comics, but if Marvel/DC offered you a similar opportunity, are there any characters that you would want to write for?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Marvel did actually offer me this chance, and at the end of the day, I decided I didn't have the time at that point. I'm not closing the door entirely on doing something with them, but this project was different for several reasons.

    First, I could create my own characters and situation--but know they were going to be important and relevant in the future of the narrative done by others.

    Second, I could write it as a novella, to fit better into the time I had to give it.

    Third, I could have it released for free, as a present to the fans.

    I'm quite a big fan of what Marvel has been doing with its stories, but I didn't feel like it was the right time for me to become involved.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2055 Copy

    AutonomousJoy

    As somebody who has little to no knowledge about Magic: The Gathering beyond the fact that it is a card game, could somebody explain how novellas like this fit into everything?

    Question for Branderson: How does writing for an already established IP feel compared to writing in your own universes? Do you feel limited?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a good kind of limitation--it helps me think with restrictions, and is good for me in making certain my own pieces remain consistent and rigid in their magical approach. So yes, it's limiting--but so far, with all three tie-ins I've done, I've been given enough freedom that it's been a good kind of limitation.

    As for your first question, since nobody else is answering, Magic story these days is told via novellas like this. The creative team works closely with the game team to design the setting and story for a given set, then the creative team commissions or writes stories to post on the website for the fans who want to follow the story as they play the game. (The cards themselves evoke story nicely, but their focus isn't on the narrative, but on the mechanics of the game.)

    My novella is a little odd in that I designed it working from worldbuilding materials sent to me, but without requiring it to follow a specific storyline for a set.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2056 Copy

    BusinessCress

    Speaking of writing process, how does it feel to work with your own series and with already existing (Magic, WoT)? Is there some differences?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's actually a lot of fun to take established rules and see how I can play with them. It makes working on something like MTG different in an interesting way for me. I don't have absolute control of everything, and have to work within certain narrative restraints--which gives me a chance to do something new and different.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2057 Copy

    diffyqgirl

    Is the writing process for writing a novella different from writing a novel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is, but they are similar arts. I think of novellas like short novels, rather than long short stories--so I tend to plot and pace them in similar ways to novels. That said, I tend to narrow my focus to one day, and don't muck around as much with flashbacks. I try to keep the narrative tight on one sequence of events.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2058 Copy

    Mithre

    If the characters were cards, what abilities would you like them to have?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd like Davriel to steal cards out of people's hands and then play them. I don't know about Tacenda, though. I've been drawing a blank so far.

    Aaronator17

    What of Davriel had a unique mechanic that read something like; When an opponent casts an instant or sorcery spell, -X loyalty where X is the spell's CMC and exile it with a theft counter (activate any time you could cast an instant), and another that was +2 and return a card exiled with a theft counter to its owner's [hand/graveyard], you may cast a copy of that spell using any coloured mana?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That would be cool, and I would like to see planeswalker cards with odd mechanics. But I think it would be a lot of complicated wording to do something that would, in essence, be very similar to:

    Minus loyalty: Look at target player's hand an exile a non-land card from it.

    Zero Loyalty: You may play cards exiled with Davriel, and may use black mana as mana of any color to cast those cards.

    Mithre

    Maybe Tacenda would have a tap target creatures effect?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a pretty good idea.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2060 Copy

    huriel19

    It's clear that Davriel is a Dimir aligned character but I find Tacenda a little bit harder to read (my closest assumption it's Boros). If she would be printed in a future which color combinations would she have?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd make Tacenda G-W-R. Green for her belief in fate, and for the power of the Entity. Red for her passion and music. White for her belief in, and protection of, her community.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #2061 Copy

    jpmoney

    A (tangential) Dream Theater mention in a SotS? I can only take so much. I'm really looking forward to the new pizza-less Death set.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The book is looking good, though it still has a lot of work left to do. Peter has really brought the right musician's touch to the story, though, and a powerful sense of authenticity.

    OlanValesco

    Question(s), if you will. What types of metal are you including (please don't say atium)? Is one of them djent? Are you only going to be doing big (older) bands (Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Megadeath, etc.)? Or are you going to be including newer bands? Niche bands? Metalheads love pretentious niche bands.

    Are you aware of the role of post hardcore as a gateway into screaming music for many people? For example, look up the Spotify plays for bands like A Day To Remember, Pierce The Veil, Sleeping With Sirens, and Of Mice & Men. Another big player is nu metal like Linkin Park. Almost every metalhead in the 20-35 age bracket grew up listening to them.

    Are you in tune with the fickleness of metal fans? How every time a band drops a new album, all the old fans line up around the block to hate on it. This is often because bands tend to soften their sound with each album (the word sellouts is not unheard in these contexts).

    Are you going to include any references to popular metal YouTubers? I.e. Jared Dines (and his 18 string guitar), Kmac2021, Rob Scallon, etc.

    Sorry for the barrage. Long time metal listener. Guess I'm just anxious so see it represented right!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm well aware that metal fans rather love their many distinct sub-genres. That's one of the main reasons I knew I needed to have someone working with me. I myself am very mainstream as a music fan. I love Metallica, but that's like telling people you love fantasy because you watched the LotR films. It's absolutely true, but doesn't exactly show off your breath of interest.

    While I like a wide variety of musical styles, I wouldn't by any means call myself a metalhead--I just don't know the culture, as much as I like to read about it. But you can be assured that Peter knows his stuff. My job is worldbuilding and plot; his job is voice and authentic representation of the culture.

    That said, I fully expect to get some pushback from fans because...well, you know. I'm sure we'll have plenty of metalheads in the beta reads, though.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2063 Copy

    Aaronator17

    I see a lot of people commenting and suggesting that Davriel is straight up UB (as represented in this story). Would you agree that this is the case? And if a different side of Davriel were to be represented on a card (say, his days as a conquerer) what do you think his colour alignment have been then? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think Davriel is most easily explained as UB, and the creative team agreed with that.

    However, I think there's a strong argument for mono black for him. His power is a mix of a thoughtsieze and the power seen often on mono black cards (like Gonti.) Granted, it's also seen on blue cards, but it can exist in mono-black.

    He does have an academic side to him, but mostly for studying demonology--a very black pursuit. His past is that of a very pragmatic economist, approached from a very black-aligned view. So mono-black makes a lot of sense for him.

    He could also be seen as Esper. He believes in order, and the importance of social institutions--particularly as a means of controlling the masses.

    The past version of him is very in alignment with this. He never approached his conquests in a red or green way--always in U/B/W ways.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2064 Copy

    Gadmond

    Were the Whisperers inspired by the card Permeating Mass? Their green color and the way they turn everyone they touch into more of themselves seems too similar to be coincidental.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Whisperers were actually more inspired by the card Strangleroot Geist. (Though I can't discount the fact that other cards, like Permeating Mass, might have been unconscious influences.)

    I knew going into the story that I want green-aligned villains, and so was trying to ask myself what would inspire a group of green geists--and what would motivate them. We've seen green villains in MTG before (the Kami and the Phyrexians both did a good job of this.) I wanted to see if I could approach the color from another direction, and was trying to think of what green would want. It seemed to me that completion, the pieces being gathered to the whole, could be very green--as could the idea of survival of the fittest. (In the form of the Entity putting itself into two souls, and figuring the stronger of the two would eventually consume the other and become its host.)

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2065 Copy

    EndlessKng

    As someone who has studied Asian cultures and history and mythology, would you consider writing a story in the Kamigawa plane? It's one of my favorites but it seems to be a bit underloved, and I'd love to see some more development of it in a story.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm a big fan of Kamigawa, and would call Toshiro Umezawa an inspiration for doing a black-aligned hero in this story. So it is something I'd consider.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2067 Copy

    Shpjokk

    Are there any easter eggs that you either got to add or wished to add to the story that reference something Magic-related that's close to you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hmm. I toyed with writing in cameos for some people I know, but decided against it, as I know Wizards isn't fond of that sort of thing in their card art, and figured it would be a bad idea in fiction.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2069 Copy

    Glamdring804

    While we're on the subject of you and MtG, do you have a spreadsheet or a document somewhere with the color identities of all your characters? Some of them are obvious, like Kelsier being red with maybe a splash of white, but others I can't make a solid decision on, like Vin.

    Brandon Sanderson

    See, I think Kelsier is blue black--though you're right, he probably has some red to him in his rebellious nature and focus on friendship and emotion. But no, I don't keep track of this. I enjoy talking about it with people, but it isn't an important part of how I design characters.

    Glamdring804

    Really? Blue black? I see where the blue comes from, and the black as well, but he was always felt like primarily red to me. Namely, his rebelliousness, desire for revenge, and general dislike of society’s structure feel like strong red traits to me. I suppose then, that might make him Grixis?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I could see Grixis.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2070 Copy

    beingcobra

    What has been the hardest book for you to write? And the easiest? Was this particular book difficult to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hardest was by far A Memory of Light. Easiest was probably Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, which I discovery wrote and did half as a writing exercise to keep me from burning out while working on the Mistborn trilogy.

    This one was middle of the road. Most of it was easy, but the ending in the first draft didn't work and required a lot of beating my head against the wall until I was able to get things to click together.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2071 Copy

    Oversleep

    Do you have any advice on writing multiple magic systems? How to write it so that the reader is not confused in there being more than one? How to foreshadow combining them? How to play them off each other? How to balance them in one setting?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I really like to make sure I don't do too much at once. What has worked for me (both in Mistborn and Stormlight) is to introduce one system up front, and use it to start exploring the setting. Then I slowly add more in future books.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2072 Copy

    Wifrin

    How did you find the experience of writing in an established universe that wasn't your own? Did the setting having a much softer magic system than you usually write present a challenge you, and what do you feel it taught that you can take back to your other writing?

    Did you get any access or information about Magic lore that wouldn't have been available to fans yet?

    Lastly, I feel like this story had less of your trademark "Sanderlanche" in it. Do you agree? Do you think that is a function of it being a short story, or other elements? Was it intentional, or did a more gradual set of revelations just work better for this story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    1. I found the experience to be a lot of fun. The system was soft, but I created my own very hard corner of it to play in, so that worked just fine for me. Most of what this taught me was how to better collaborate--I am glad for the experience in that regard, and hope it will help me better at similar writing tasks in the future.

    2. I did!

    3. Most of my short fiction has a smaller Sanderlanche. Basically, I need lots of threads intermixing so that I can start pulling them together rapid-fire for a good Sanderlanche, and short fiction will need smaller ones in turn. Most of the stories in Arcanum Unbounded had climaxes similar to this one.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2073 Copy

    DataLoreHD

    Aside of the mind probe stealing spell, did Davriel have any other spells of his own? If not, why didn't he try to learn something which comes in handy in battle (e.g. Doom Blade)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Remember, he loses what he grabs over time. Generally, he can keep a few stolen spells in the back of his mind--but even they weaken. So he can't really learn Doom Blade. He has to work with what he finds in the brains of nearby people.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2074 Copy

    ChiralPhoton

    When I think of Brandon and MtG, I wonder, if the 5 kinds of mana, were suddenly replaced by investiture from the 16 shards, how would that affect the game? Upsides? Downsides?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know if this would even be mechanically possible--MTG is balanced around those five poles. It would probably make things a whole lot more complicated, and might be better matched to a game with a lot of flexible factions.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2075 Copy

    ILikeBreadsticks

    If you could design a new mechanic for Magic, what would you make? Thank you!

    Brandon Sanderson

    For my own Mistborn custom cube, I designed a mechanic that cared if a card was sleeved or not. It couldn't work in regular magic, of course, but in the context of a cube that is already pre-sleeved, it played very well. Basically, being sleeved equated to being protected or shrouded in the mist. You could give up your protection to become stronger, sometimes, but it made you more vulnerable. (There were many cards, for example, that could only destroy unsleeved cards.)

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2076 Copy

    les_lim

    Crunchgnar mentions that as a lesser demon, he is forced to give up the souls he has claimed to his lords - presumably demon lords, not the mortals with whom he engages in contracts.

    How does demonic feudalism work? Under what circumstances do lesser demons come to have lords? What benefits does Crunchgnar receive for his vassalage (or peasantry)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Basically, you do what the more powerful demon says, or you end up getting roasted. It's not quite feudalism. More, if you have a tasty morsel, someone is likely to steal it from you--unless you've already picked someone strong to give some of what you claim, so they can tell everyone else to shove off.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2078 Copy

    Argent

    I enjoyed the story a lot. Davriel was a lot of fun to read about, as was Miss Highwater. I wish I had interesting things to ask about them, but I just don't know enough MTG lore to come up with anything - which leads to my first question:

    • How can a guy learn more about the lore of MTG?

    And, a related question:

    • Had I been more versed in MTG lore, would I be able to recognize specific spells or creatures in this story? Davriel's eyes changed color a few times when he was casting, I figured the color might match either the color of existing spells or what you felt his spells would've been, had they been actual cards.

    Brandon Sanderson

    MTG lore is pretty deep (and at times, a little confusing.) I'd suggest the Dominaria stories written by Martha Wells for sheer writing quality reasons--even though they might be a little more confusing than some others. You could also go back and read the stories set on Innistrad (this plane) during the Shadows over Innistrad story sequence.

    If you'd known the lore, you'd have picked out little things here and there. But they would have been easter eggs, mostly.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2079 Copy

    pluto7443

    Just a quick question, what colors would you think Davriel would be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think his first incarnation is likely to be mono-black--because I pitched him as a mono-black hero to the team.

    lacker

    Here’s what I was imagining while reading:

    1UB, 3 starting loyalty

    +1: Exile the top two cards of your opponent’s library

    -1: You can play one card exiled with Davriel until end of turn, using mana of any color to cast it

    -6: Exile your opponent’s hand

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a great rendition of him. Nice work! The only problem with it that I can think of is that it feels a little like Ashiok, mechanically.

    I would enjoy a Davriel who could thoughtsieze and cast those spells, as I think it aligns better--but this feels like a really dangerous ability to make repeatable on a cheap walker, but a weak ability on an expensive walker after hands are empty.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2081 Copy

    virgineyes09

    Writing question. When writing a fantasy novel in which the setting and the plot are so tightly linked (i.e. the plot of Stormlight is linked inextricably and specifically to the world of Roshar) which area do you focus on first, world or story, or both simultaneously? Can you talk about Stormlight specifically and how you built the world and the story to work so tightly together? Do you ever make small changes in the worldbuilding that end up forcing you to make big changes to the plot and vice versa?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The way I design stories, I'm usually always thinking about items in three areas that catch my attention: Character conflicts, setting themes, and plot archetypes. I keep a notebook where I'm writing down in these three general areas, looking for ideas that strike me as feeling new or interesting in some way.

    Books begin to form when several of these ideas start to grow together, and influence one another in interesting ways. Roshar, as a planet, was interesting--but the story wasn't working t until the idea of the spren, the characters who interact with them, and the world all together started to play off each other.

    When I feel like something is really coming together, I sit down and build an outline from all of these idea. This back-and-forth experience leads to the story being interconnected as I jump back and forth between outlining plot, setting, and character. Often, these things will change one another greatly as I work through it, trying to see it all as a whole, rather than parts.

    General Reddit 2018 ()
    #2082 Copy

    Vegadin

    Tineye. I have a condition i cant remember the name of, basically I started suffocating right before I was born and the lack of oxygen caused a very slight brain damage in all my senses. All of my sensory organs are fine, but my brain can’t interpret them quite right. Usually it's done in more of a dulling. I hope that tin would bring me to the same super human level because magic... Wait...if this works my whole week will be made.

    [Brandon] would tin fix me? Or is my brain just broken?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I say yes, you'd be pleased with the results. (Sorry to hear about your affliction.)

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2084 Copy

    marquisdc

    Did you go into creating Davriel with the color pie in mind? What colors would you say he is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I went into the story knowing I wanted to write a black-alinged hero. Someone who showed off the pragmatic side of black, and someone whose ambition was different from traditional black-aligned ambition.

    I'd say that Davriel is black primary, with a strong secondary blue aspect. There is a slight white tertiary side to him, mostly in his belief in organized systems and society that makes sense. (Though he prefers these boundaries for others more than for himself.)

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2085 Copy

    SeanWhelan1

    Having you create a story for Magic has been speculated for a very longtime now. Will there be a return in the future (possibly a full length novel) or was this a one-shot type of deal?

    Having Magic go back to novels is going to be amazing and hope to see you around for these!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I doubt this will be the last time I write something for MTG, but it is difficult to fit this sort of thing into my schedule. Doing it for free this way actually helped, as instead of thinking about how much it would earn relative to other things, I could just relax and treat it as a gift to the readers. I don't know if I could have fit it in otherwise, oddly.

    I don't know that I'll ever be able to do a main-line MTG novel, as the amount of time I'd want to spend going to the planning meetings and the like would probably be prohibitive. But we'll see.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2087 Copy

    The_Vikachu

    Are there any existing MtG cards with little lore behind them that have really gotten your creative juices flowing? For example, cards like Helm of the Host or Dark Depths, which hint at tons of story potential but are otherwise ignored by the larger ongoing story.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have always loved Dark Depths for that reason--and for similar reasons, I like cards that tell a story by themselves. (Figure of Destiny, or the Sagas are examples of this.)

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2088 Copy

    _i_am_root

    Mr Sanderson, you have been a very active member in the communities about your books, and still manage to create such quality stories.

    My question is, what has been the most memorable interaction you have had with a fan?

    PS. Back when I first started reading your books, I sent you an email, and I got a reply. I just want to tell you how much that meant to me 5 years ago, no other author had ever responded to my emails, and I just want to say thank you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Actually, the most memorable is probably when I saw someone on Reddit wishing they could be in the Stormlight Archive. (I believe it's /u/Kaladin_Stormblessed.) Well, I found her a spot in the books, and it turns out she is very involved in fandom and is a writer herself, so the two of us have become friends over the years. To the point that I forget we first met over a random thread on the internet.

    You might also count the fact that a pair of fans, who met at one of my signings, eventually got engaged via a proposal that happened at one of my lectures. (With my involvement.)

    Anyway, I'm glad I was able to answer that email! I don't get to do much of that any more, and a lot of people get form mail or responses from Adam instead. (It just got to be too much for me.)

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2089 Copy

    cantoXV1

    Did you struggle with the limits of the Magic world and magic system since you're so used to creating your own?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I worried about this a lot when going into the Wheel of Time--but I found that I really like taking an established magic system and pushing it this direction or that direction. It's a lot of fun to me to dig into how something works, and see if I can "break" it in interesting ways.

    I suspected I'd have a similar experience with MTG, and I did--though I did need something I could play with to be unique. I settled on the kind of "Gonti/Nightveil Specter" ability to steal spells from someone else, then use them yourself. This was a really fun space for me to play with, and I found it thoroughly engaging.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2090 Copy

    cantoXV1

    Brandon, how was character creation different for Children of the Nameless compared to the rest of your other works?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Character creation wasn't that different--I start usually with a conflict or a theme. For Davriel, it was "Economist gets magical powers" mixed with "Person who uses contracts with demons not for crazy power, but to get good staff members."

    For Tacenda, I was looking at her curse and the way she uses music. (Mixed with the conflict of being able to hear your entire village get killed--but not being able to stop it.)

    From there, I did apply some MTG philosophy to the refinement of the characters.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2091 Copy

    Nallebjurn

    Is it a possibility that we in the future get to see the characters from Children of the Nameless represented on magic cards?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a possibility, but as the other responder mentioned, I don't have any control over this--I think it's likely, but I certainly couldn't say when. I think the fact that Dack got a card--after being created by the comic book team--bodes well for Davriel, at the very least.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2093 Copy

    Arkm21ebr

    Are there any MtG planes that have had an influence on you and share some characteristics with any of the planets in the cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's hard to say how much influence MTG has had on me, since I started playing in high school--right around the time when I started writing. I don't ever remember seeing the connected shared worlds thing, and connecting it to the cosmere. (I see that as more directly influenced by Asimov and Stephen King connecting their books together) but it's totally possible that MTG was an unconscious influence.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2094 Copy

    Jovh

    What challenges are there in writing for an already established IP vs something of your own creation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The biggest challenge is always the push and pull between what the larger story needs vs. the little story I want to tell. For example, MTG has established rules about what the planeswalkers can do--and it's important to stay in canon for the greater good of the story. (Planeswalkers, for example, can't take people with them when they hop between worlds.) That limits me, for example, if I wanted to do Davriel on another plane--he couldn't take any supporting cast with him.

    That's a rule you probably wouldn't set up if this were just stories about Davriel, as the supporting cast is what makes him shine as a character. But the structure of it is important for not breaking the larger stories the team is telling.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2095 Copy

    mbue

    Did you get to choose Innistrad as the setting, or was that something that was already part of the planeswalker WotC had in mind that your character got merged into?

     

    Brandon Sanderson

    I got to choose. I had built Davriel most of the way when they said, "Hey, we've got this blank slate planeswalker in our files. Do you want to make this your character?" It worked perfectly, as it let me fill out the lore for this person and have them work as part of the larger narrative.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2096 Copy

    MagisterSieran

    How would you compare writing this novella to the Wheel of Time books you wrote? Both have treasure troves of existing lore and characters and both are fantasy media that you're a fan of.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was a similar experience in some ways--I had a lot of creative freedom in both cases, for example, and I had a lot of lore to draw upon.

    For the WoT, though, I was very, very steeped in the lore--and made sure I did another deep dive before writing the stories. Here, I have familiarity with a lot of MTG lore, but there's a lot I don't know. I haven't read most of the fiction, particularly the older fiction, for example.

    So for WoT I felt confident taking main storylines and resolving them, while for this, I tried to create my own sort of sectioned-off part of the plane to play in. Then I created my own lore for that area that I could control more specifically--traditions and lore that were related to the well-known places on Innistrad, but not exactly the same. That way, I could play with them, and undermine them, and do what I wished with them.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2097 Copy

    Aurimus_

    As a worldbuilder, I love digging into worlds I wouldn't experience otherwise - DnD setting guides, wikis and the like. From the chapter released on io9 already, and what I've seen on various reddits discussing your novella, it feels like MtG has a massive world behind it too (someone described MtG as very similar to the Cosmere?)

    First off, will your novella be suitable for someone like me who has never actually dug into the MtG lore before? And secondly, where would you say a Cosmere fan should begin digging into the lore here? What are your favorite worldbuilding elements? Have any inspired elements in your stories? (Cosmere or otherwise)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, this novella will be suitable for someone who knows nothing about the lore. I wrote it expecting most wouldn't know anything about it.

    If you want to dig into MTG lore, the various MTG wikis talk a lot about the world and lore--but you could do worse than just reading the other stories on Wizard's website, as a lot of them are well done.

    My favorite MTG worldbuilding elements tend to be their visual worldbuilding--they have a lot of artists, and much of what they come up with is beautiful. It's a lot of fun to just go to Gatherer (the website with all the archive of cards) and pick a Set (like Innistrad) and read the flavor text at the bottom of the cards. (They are quotes or things in-world. Not every card has them, but much do.) That, with the art style, can tell you an entire story on its own.

    I've been playing MTG since I was in high school, so I'd say my writing was probably influenced by it a lot--but I don't know if I can name any specifics.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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    Use_the_Falchion

    I'm not a MTG fan by any stretch, (I've played a couple of rounds with friends, but it usually takes some heavy coercing) but if I wanted to become one, especially for the lore, where would I start?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, this story isn't a bad place, since I wrote it hopefully in a way that will be interesting to those who don't know any of the lore. Otherwise, the soft reboot mentioned below is a good place.

    I liked a number of the earlier comic books (though I haven't read the current one) and thought they were well done. I also liked the work Martha Wells did recently--I linked it in my blog post today.

    For years, each Magic story was isolated, with each set having its own story. (Save for one long arc near the beginning.) Some ten years ago, they decided to create a group of people who would travel between the worlds, and let the story center on their interaction with the locations--which gave it some stronger continuity. The soft reboot at Origins (which is kind of the second soft reboot for MTG) is the start of the current larger arc.

    Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
    #2099 Copy

    Dwarven_Hydra

    What was it like keeping this project a secret for so long, especially with so many people guessing it’d turn out to be exactly this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, it did grow kind of annoying to keep this secret--as I tend to be the type to think that a secret doesn't do a project like this very much good. The longer a project remains a (known) secret, the bigger the hype machine--and I knew pretty early on that people were going to blow this out of proportion.

    So I hope it wasn't too much of a disappointment that it wasn't some huge film or video game project, like I suspect some of you were expecting. Fortunately, I've had secret projects before, and they tend to be novellas like this.

    Either way, I do wish they'd let me announce it sooner. Not sure exactly why they wanted to keep it a secret. Announcing it in July and letting people anticipate would have been great for building interest--but I think they were a little wary since they really didn't know how big it would be or what it would be like, since they didn't commission the piece so much as say 'yes' then try to ride the wave that is Brandon creating a story.