Recent entries

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Ketamine

    I am in the very small minority of your readers that finds Hoid obnoxious and unpleasant. So will we see more characters talk negatively about Hoid, or expose some of what he has done in the past? I bet there are a lot more people like Shai out there ...

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are a ton. But I don't know when exactly I'll be able to get to them. Suffice it to say that you wouldn't find yourself alone in that opinion in the cosmere.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    MoriWillow

    I happened to notice that Aon Ene in AonDor, which is said to represent debate, is used to control timing in Aon sequences. Is this an intentional connection with logicspren, which are drawn to debates, being used for timing in fabrials?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it is. There are a few more connections like this in some of the other magics I hope to be able to get to before too long.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    3DLightweaver

    Will we see more fights like these [Kaladin vs Zahel] in the future of the cosmere to settle all the debates? Would have loved to see full Surgebinder vs Returned Awakener.

    Also can you say who would win if Zahel and Kal went all out?

    I assume Kal couldn't really lash someone with a lot of Breath. But my money is on the Windrunner.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Being able to fly is a huge tactical advantage in most fights, so I'd agree with you to an extent. But Vasher could probably beat anyone alive in a fair swordfight.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    mazzeleczzare

    Finally, thank you for writing Kaladin like this during this chapter [Rhythm of War Chapter Fifteen]. As someone who struggles with depression and is often brooding, I do have my good days and still have some serotonin in my brain. I get excited about doing things I’m good at and I think you nailed that aspect.

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the worries I had starting this book with Kaladin down was that people would forget that he can be up--so I wanted to make sure to get there in this section as well.

    YouTube Livestream 17 ()
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    Questioner

    Are there any mythologies that you have hoped to incorporate into the cosmere in some form, like Celtic, Norse, Egyptian, or Chinese?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, that's not really how I look at it. I don't generally say "I'm going to be inspired by this mythology." I know a lot of writers do, and that's fine. I tend to look and say, "This part of this mythology is really interesting. It says something about this culture." The Norse mythology that they are going to lose; Ragnarok is going to happen. That is fascinating. The idea that Greek and Roman mythologies had these different names for what were essentially the same gods that, over time, became more and more like one another is a really cool idea. I like that aspect of it.

    But even when I wrote the spren, which have some roots in Shinto and some Asian mythologies, it's not like I'm sitting down and saying, "I'm gonna use this." What I'm saying is, "What fascinates me." The idea that everything has a soul fascinates me. The idea from Plato that there are multiple realms of existence. These things mix together. And certainly there are other seeds like that that I will incorporate. But I don't sit down and say, "This is the time to do this."

    Once in a while, I'll use a culture like that and say, "I'm gonna use the linguistics of this culture and kind of base some things on this culture because it is interesting to me." You've seen me do that with the Horneaters. But mythologies, not as much.

    YouTube Livestream 17 ()
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    Questioner

    As a medical student who is currently in my musculoskeletal class, how different is the internal anatomy of the "humans" of the worlds of the cosmere? Like structure and number of muscles, bones, organs, things like that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    In general, you wouldn't have a problem. There would be minor differences. Like, there's gonna be some slight anatomy differences for, like, Scadrians, who were changed to deal with the ash and stuff. You'd be like, "Wow, the lungs are different here." And Roshar is a lower-gravity, higher-oxygen environment, and you're gonna find longer bones, you're gonna find stuff like that on Roshar. But, in general, you would be like, "This is a human whose species is slightly evolved for a different environment." Rather than "this is not human at all."

    Now, if you were to ask about an Aimian, either variety, they would be very, very, very different. You would be like Bones trying to operate on Spock. The Sleepless, you'd need a very different degree for dealing with them. I'm very excited to eventually get the Sleepless fully into the stories. They're from my second novel, Star's End, is the very first appearance of them. And they got ported over to the cosmere once I designed the cosmere. And are a really cool, in my mind, science fiction race that are not a hivemind, but an individual is made up of a group of large insects that share Cognitive load across all of them, and there's just so many fun things you can do with that. Because they can selectively breed parts of their own body to do different things and have, like, fifty generations of this group of insect that they are selectively breeding to do this specific thing, and stuff like that. Hasn't been a lot of space for them in the cosmere, yet. Just some brief appearances. They'll be very important during the space age.

    YouTube Livestream 17 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the reasons I've not been firm on what the names of the sixteen Shards are is because I want that flexibility to be able to say "no, this is what the cosmere needs, is a persona like this to have a Shard, and the Shard doing this." By the time Rhythm of War comes out, I think we will have canonized all sixteen or very close to all sixteen. But I wanted to take my time doing that.

    YouTube Livestream 17 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I am likely done writing Legion novellas. I still hold out hope for a television show; we have the rights to that sold. And there's a decent chance we'll do some audio originals that I'll do with a co-author on those. So if you really like Steven Leeds, I've always imagined Legion as a television show pitch. That is from the very first novella, I am writing in-depth episodes (kind of like the Sherlock episodes of the BBC Sherlock), standalone episodes that build on each other was my pitch to myself.

    YouTube Livestream 17 ()
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    Questioner

    Where does Dawnshard fit, time-frame wise?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Three months after Oathbringer, which puts it in Rosharan terms seven months-ish before Rhythm of War. (Ten-month years.)

    Isaac Stewart

    But we should probably mention that you don't have to read this one to read Rhythm of War.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You do not. I have written Rhythm of War in such a way that, if you haven't read this, you will not really be confused. There will be a few things where you're like, "Oh, that's probably what that's referencing." And if you read this after, it's not going to ruin either story.

    I did something very specific with the Rysn interlude in Rhythm of War that allows us to preserve most of what happened in Dawnshard, so far, so that you will not have it spoiled when you get to that interlude. I've done something very different for that interlude, let's just say. And I did that because I hadn't written Dawnshard yet, when I wrote the Rysn interlude. In fact, it's the last thing I wrote for the book, was that interlude. And let's just say that interlude is from a different viewpoint. We'll just say that.

    And references to what happened are in the story, but they're mostly kind of vague, because even most of the people in the main storyline don't know the specifics of what happened in the novella. It's kind of like what happened in Edgedancer, where what happened to Lift is not really generally understood and known by everyone else, because she was off on her own.

    It is done. First draft is finished. It is The Lopen and Rysn.

    YouTube Livestream 17 ()
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    Questioner

    What are two cosmere characters that have never met (and maybe never will) that you would be most excited to write a scene involving?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is Lift and Wayne. Preferably after Lift is of age, and they can go drinking together. But even before, I think, they would make a very interesting pairing.

    YouTube Livestream 17 ()
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    Questioner

    Alloy of Law leatherbounds? Have you made any decisions?

    Isaac Stewart

    Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self will come together. They will be separate leatherbound books, but they will be packaged together, not in a slip case. They will probably be, together, around $150 as a package.

    We're gonna try to keep elements of the design from the Mistborn books, so that they look good in a line, but have something that is a little bit different about them.

    Because of our contracts, we will not sell them separately.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Love-that-dog

    I’m curious, based on Adolin’s behavior towards his father getting more and more rebellious and antagonistic.

    Did Dalinar tell his family about Evi and what he was confessing g before the book was published or did they find out like the general public?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He kind of told them. He had the book read to Adolin and Renarin, in draft form, before he started releasing those drafts.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Cthaehen

    I perked up when Zahel mentioned Hoid! I just wonder how much we'll get to read about Hoid in this book. I really hope it's more than just an epilogue, he really seems like the type of guy who can offer A LOT of information but is too engrossed in his own journey towards a hitherto unknown goal to care about the plebian things lol

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's a little more involved than normal. (A trend that should continue into the next book, the final of this sequence.)

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixteen

    Seems like a good place to talk about my philosophy on how I choose viewpoint characters for these books. I've been getting DMs saying, "Why no Dalinar viewpoints?" or "Why no Adolin viewpoints?" And I can understand frustration there.

    When I started this series, however, I dug into the multi-book epic fantasy stories I'd enjoyed in the past, as well as the more popular examples, and tried to really nail down the pitfalls of the format. A main one felt, to me, to be character sprawl. These series tend to end up with so many interesting characters that the author, in turn, ends up having entire sequences (and even books) that don't move the storyline forward, but instead investigate new storylines.

    While I do appreciate some of that, I wanted to do what I could to mitigate that. Which meant limiting my viewpoints, even among main characters. This helps prevent sprawl, at least for me, because when I'm in someone's head, I naturally begin working on subplots and character arcs for them. In this case, I needed to keep my focus, and limit myself. To not try to do full sequences for every character in every part of every book. While I know some of you would have enjoyed that, I would really rather finish this series before I am a hundred--and feel that the books need to be as focused as is reasonable for their length.

    That's why when I outline, I look at all the characters that COULD have a viewpoint in a given section--then narrow my scope to a few of them. Dalinar most certainly could have had viewpoints in Part One of this book, but I decided it was Navani's perspective that made the most sense for this story. So, while you get to see a healthy dose of Dalinar, we don't have his viewpoints.

    Those will come later in the book, in a part where it makes sense to have his perspective on things. I need to look for the characters that are adding the most to a given sequence--that usually means the ones who are changing the most, learning the most, or who have the most tension in their sequence. I do feel bad for this somewhat cutthroat use of viewpoints at times, but I believe it is the right decision--it's either this, or watch the series balloon to many more books while at the same time slowing the narrative down to the point that books pass, and you wonder what was actually accomplished in them.

    Only three more chapters left in these previews before you get the entire book! (Also, apologies for those who found this annotation repetitive from things I've said before. It is difficult to judge, sometimes, what is new information to the majority of readers and what is becoming well-worn, so to speak.)

    Miscellaneous 2020 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    As Elantris was getting published, I sat down and did an outline for the Mistborn trilogy (which I expanded to nine books in the middle of that outline" and said, "What if I made this backbone series to the cosmere?" (As I was then kind of officially calling it in my head.) I went to my editor, I pitched it; I talked about Adonalsium, this god who was Shattered long ago, and sixteen individuals took up pieces of that god, the Intents of the god. Like that god's Honor, or that god's sense of entropy (which was called Ruin) or things like this, and then went out into the cosmere and were kind of ruling over these planets, or involved in these planets, or sometimes just lightly touching these planets. The sixteen Shards of Adonalsium, as we call them.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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    Mattew

    Has knowing that Tor releases the first big chunk of your books when they're coming out change the way you write? For example, more cliffhangers, things like that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nope, it hasn't. Good question. But I am the one who picks what Tor releases. They would not be releasing nearly as much if it weren't my choice, if I hadn't suggested it and strongly encouraged it. It doesn't change how I write the chapters. That's not really a factor in it for me.

    I am having a lot of fun writing a little annotation for every time Tor does a release on Tuesdays. I go on Reddit on the thread and write a little annotation about the chapter (or chapters).

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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    Jake

    Do you see yourself ever releasing any more Sanderson Curiosities? And if so, when?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Response to Way of Kings Prime was strong enough that I would at least like to release, in hardcover form, the good ones. The good books from the Sandersons Curiosities are: White Sand, Aether of Night, and Dragonsteel. They are all of an equivalent quality, I would say; as in being slightly worse than Elantris. Maybe significantly worse, but has similar problems. They're all good enough books that I don't think you waste your time reading them. They are just not good enough books that I would want to mass release them. They are, I think, great books to read as somebody who is like, "This is one of Brandon's early books that could have gotten published, good enough to get published, but didn't quite make it there." And I think people can have a lot of fun with those.

    So I would imagine that we do one of these per Stormlight Kickstarter. Because we will probably continue to do... the Stormlight Archive books are just a big enough thing and require a big enough gear-up and enough funds that we'll probably continue to do one of those every three years. We will continue to do other leatherbounds, not as Kickstarters. They have smaller print runs, and we probably will continue to do all of those in bonded leather, and then do the Stormlight books in Kickstarters. And we will probably have a new Curiosity each time. So I would expect us to have White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Aether of Night curiosities in the next three of these Kickstarters.

    And then we'll take a long, hard look at what we have left. Because after that, we go down another jump in quality. We have Mistborn Prime and Final Empire Prime, which are probably the next two in quality. Where they aren't bad books, and I think they're readable, but they're a little step further away from what ended up being my vision. But I think that White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Aether of Night are probably a little bit stronger of novels than Way of Kings Prime. So maybe Final Empire Prime and Mistborn Prime are both kind of equivalent to that.

    Then, after that, we have another big dip in quality, and then you get things like Star's End, which was my second novel. You get things like Knight Life, which was my attempt at a comedic, sort of Bob Asprin adventure-style comedy. (Mostly cringe, with a little bit of actual comedy.) And the book I called The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora, which is a cyberpunk look at immortality, where people have been turned into superweapons with nanites and stuff like that, and I have no idea how that book measures up anymore. It's the book I wrote right before Elantris. But those ones, I could even see releasing those.

    Then, we have a huge dip in quality for White Sand Prime and Lord Mastrell Prime, which are the first versions, the first books I wrote, and are really bad. And Mythwalker, which is the one I didn't finish because it just wasn't any good. And those are the other Sanderson Curiosities. I would not expect us to ever release those. Those are just bad enough that they aren't worth charging you for. Whereas a lot of these books are things I was experimenting with and exploring with and getting better at, they're my journeyman works, the first version (White Sand Prime and Lord Mastrell) are the equivalent of the stuff you do as a filmmaker in high school with your parents' camera, your parents' phone, where you make your own Indiana Jones movie with your parents' phone when you're sixteen. That's the equivalent of what you would be getting, and I just don't know if I can charge people for that. Maybe we'll put 'em up free on my website, and if people really wanna complete the collection, they can complete them and have them bound themselves.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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    Questioner

    How much artistic license did Michael [Whelan] have when designing the cover [of Rhythm of War] and what your process is when working with him to get the cover vision that you're going for?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Our preference is to give artists a lot of leeway for personal interpretation. I, personally, believe any piece of fan-art or official art is that artist's vision of what they saw in their head when they were reading the book. And that's going to differ greatly from what someone else would see, and I like seeing those interpretations. I like seeing those visions. So we try to give quite a bit of leeway and flexibility to the artist.

    For instance, Michael (being the consummate professional he is) sent, like, ten sketches of possibilities. And we had ones we liked the most, and fortunately they were the same ones that he liked the most. But mostly, we say, "These are all great. Which one do you enjoy? Which one are you most excited to paint?" And we move that direction most of the time. Isaac will usually have continuity comments, and we want to make sure that things are in continuity, but we give a lot of freedom to the artists. We don't really want to chain them down. We want art to inspire art.

    And so, because of that, people look different in some of our official interpretations. And I think that's okay, because that's how artwork goes. We're not trying to match a really exacting style guide on the characters, usually. And that lets us have the cover art for the UK cover look very different from the covert art form the US cover, and even have different interpretations on the characters in different ways. We'll catch the big things. We'll say "put a glove on her" if there's a scandalous hand exposed. We'll say "this is what the patch looks like that should be on Kaladin's shoulder." Stuff like that, we will do, but we try to give a lot of freedom.

    I really like this cover. This is my favorite of his covers since the first one.

    YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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    Reflex Jack

    How are you feeling about Dawnshard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dawnshard is just a lot of fun to write. How am I feeling about it? The structure's a little odd, so I'm not sure what alphas and betas will think of that. "Little odd" meaning it's about a trip to Aimia, but about half of it is the trip there, and half of it... it's kind of like what happened with, actually, the King Kong movie that Peter Jackson made, where there's as much stuff happening before you get to the place as actually on the place. So that's one thing that I'm... I'm not concerned about, but I'm wondering how people respond to.

    I have to say, it's been a real pleasure to write it because Rysn and Lopen are not characters that I get to do a lot of viewpoints from. And if I had to do this from one of the main-line Stormlight characters, I think it wouldn't be nearly as fun, because I basically exhaust my excitement for writing about them during the books, where they are very involved, and it takes me eighteen months to recuperate and then to get back to it excited again. But I almost never get to write Lopen scenes, and we only get one Rysn scene per book, and they both have really interesting ways of seeing the world. (Lopen in particular. And he's a blast to write. Always keeps things fun and interesting.)

    YouTube Livestream 15 ()
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    Questioner

    Stormlight tabletop RPG game. Have you ever looked into that? Would you ever consider that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We would consider it. Since we've done one with Mistborn, it is certainly something we would consider. And Stormlight would be the thing we would do. But the Mistborn game is still having active support, and we enjoy our partnership there with Crafty, so there hasn't been a lot of real nitty-gritty detail discussion of doing a tabletop RPG. I expect it will happen someday, how about that; but we don't have any immediate plans.

    YouTube Livestream 15 ()
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    Natalie

    Do you ever dive into fan theories? And has it perhaps helped you to come up with a solution for some plot issue you have trouble figuring out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Plot issues, no. Because, if I'm having trouble with a plot issue, that's usually during the outlining stage, and it happens well before fans are seeing things and can theorize on things. But, once in a while, in writing group I'll be doing something, and they'll start theorizing, and I'll be like, "Oh, that's a way better idea than what I had!" And that helps a ton; writing group can do that. The danger of writing group is, sometimes, they can take over the book. But as an outliner (as I am), that never happens to me. So if they are theorizing about something...

    Really what it helps me is when people are theorizing along certain directions, it tells me what they're interested in, what they're thinking about, what they're expecting. And as a storyteller, one of my big goals is always to be in control of reader expectations, at least on the large scale, so that I know how people are gonna respond to what I'm writing. And I am creating and shaping that experience for people, and fan theories are really great for helping me understand where I need to put emphasis, what I've explained, what details are foreshadowed well enough.

    I'm of the philosophy that most major things that happen in a series (like the ones I write) should be foreshadowed well enough that people are figuring out what's happening. This doesn't alarm me when people figure out early what's going to happen, because this entire series is about the journey. And I feel like if my signposts are correct, people are gonna have a general instinct.

    That said, I always do like to add a few zingers that people aren't anticipating at all. I like those, when either they're the sort of zinger that surprises the cast; something happened in life that nobody's anticipating. And the fun is how people respond, rather than the actual surprise itself. Or the sort of surprising-yet-inevitable; the things that you aren't expecting until it happens, and then realize you should have expected it. So, I do like to throw those out now and then. Like, the little twist that happens with Adolin at the end of Words of Radiance; this is not something that I think people could have guessed, but it makes sense with his character. And so people were shocked, but not surprised, if that makes sense. And those sorts of twists, I really like to do.

    But fan theories, I do read them when they pop up on Reddit. Mostly because people are asking me about them. And I find them very interesting. But they're more relevant in a "market research" sort of way than they are in a "figure out how to fix this problem" sort of way.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Haverworthy

    In his current revised in-world framework, would Vasher include the Lifeless in the same category as Shadows in the Type IIs? You've talked in the Warbreaker Annotations about how it was a mistake for the awakeners to keep the Lifeless in the dark:

    Lightsong Sees the Lifeless and Takes Command of Them

    They keep them in the dark. This is a bad idea. They don't realize it, but the Lifeless are far more aware than everyone assumes. Clod in this book is a foreshadowing of that, and there won't be much more about it in the rest of the novel. It's one of the focus points for the sequel, if I ever write it. (Which will actually have a Lifeless as a viewpoint character, if I can find a way to swing it.)

    And then there is the in-story information given to us about how Lifeless retain some measure of their skills from before their death. Would it be fair to say that the Lifeless would be considered by Vasher to be Cognitive Shadows of this nature:

    For the weaker ones, just kill the body again, make sure no one Invests the soul with more strength, and they’ll slip away in a few minutes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is RAFO material in that it is a possible plot point for a future Warbreaker book. (Sorry.)

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Medium_Steak_6883

    So, initially spren had imitated the heralds which then brought about the Knight Radiants and granted them similar powers. Can a spren, upon seeing worldhoppers like Vasher using biochromatic breaths, learn to imitate those as well over time? For Vasher can gain access to stormlight, so I'm wondering if spren can somehow also be able to access different investiture.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is something to this theory, but I need to RAFO details.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Nick_theGreek_Koro

    So, Zahel seems to carry a lot of baggage from his various experiences with war and violence.

    Will we get to see what lead to him being this way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Goal is for you to eventually get these answers. Either in the Warbreaker sequel, or another place that will become evident as the cosmere progresses.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Somerandom1922

    And if you let a man die with too Invested a soul—or Invest him right as he’s dying—he’ll leave behind a shadow you can nail back onto a body. His own, if you’re feeling charitable.

    [Secret History spoilers] was that mean to be a subtle nod to Kelsier tied in with the awesome exposition and realisations?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, to an extent.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    karyaland

    Can we expect these kind of chapter notes [Rhythm of War Annotations] for the rest of the book once it’s released? I absolutely love them.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wish I could say yes, but these sorts of things are really tough for me to promise. I used to do way more of them, but the amount of writing I need to do these days can get prohibitive. For example, Dawnshard taking a little longer to revise than anticipated has put me behind on Skyward 3, and I'd really like to make deadline on that.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    _imagine_7

    I would want to ask him what he added [to Dawnshard during revisions]. Was he generally adding little parts everywhere and surprised that he had increased the word count or maybe writing entirely new chapters? Was this increase of words planned?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This increase wasn't planned, but I found that (based on some beta reader responses) that I needed to fill out a few character arcs and dig deeper into a few side characters, and their motivations, in order for the story to actually work. This required several new scenes and expansion to several others. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but it was what the story needed. Since I'll be releasing (as part of the kickstarter rewards) all drafts of the story, you'll be able to see for yourself what I mean, if you are interested enough to dig into the earlier drafts.

    Miscellaneous 2020 ()
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    Geck O Kerr

    In Mistborn, where are people getting their metals from? Mining is *never* mentioned. Skaa/workers work in fields and factories etc but mining (atium excluded) is never mentioned. Wouldn't noble houses (particularly in era 2) want to own mines?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Indeed! But most of the best mines were not in the central dominance, so they didn't play as often into the story. You should expect mining all across the land, but do remember that the amount of metal used by allomancers (who are still relatively rare) doesn't really impact how much needs to be mined. Compared to what's needed for industry and the like, the amount used by allomancers just doesn't figure in. And so what is produced in the Final Empire would be similar to what would be in any other nation of their tech level.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    asmodeus

    Just as a point of clarification, was Vasher physically articulating his Commands in this chapter, or is he capable of bypassing that need, for whatever reason? (skill, Heightening, etc.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    You can assume he whispered each Command as he gave them.

    Rhythm of War Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifteen

    I've been waiting for you guys to read this one, as it has some of my favorite moments in the first part. From the conversation with Rlain, and me finally being able to talk about some of the mechanics that let the Listeners survive on the Shattered Plains, to--of course--being able to write a fight using Awakening for the first time in a while. I also enjoy writing about Kaladin through the eye of someone like Zahel, as it gives me some interesting opportunities.

    Obviously, I'm pushing (again) the boundaries of what a reader can be expected to remember/know about the cosmere to enjoy these books.

    It's my opinion that thinking "Zahel can do weird, mysterious stuff I don't understand" is all right for those readers who don't have a larger cosmere experience. In fact, I'm confident that even if Warbreaker hadn't been released, I'd be writing scenes like this in the same way. It's a common trope in fantasy for the powerful figure, like Gandalf, to do things that seem outside the rules everyone else has to follow. One thing I like about having the cosmere to play with as a creator is that it lets me do scenes like this, which both are mysterious but also fully explained by the greater magic system, if you want to dig into it.

    I will say that Zahel is making an informed guess about Szeth in this chapter. He doesn't know 100%.

    This is your last relatively cosmere-aware chapter for the previews, I'm afraid. There are a few more similar to this much later in the book.

    Miscellaneous 2020 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Writing the climactic sequence of Rhythm of War was the culmination of decades of planning and hoping. “It’s one of the big touchstone moments from when I built the outline all those years ago. When I was first trying to break in, I wrote so many first novels,” he says. “You can’t sell book three of a series if a publisher rejected book one, which meant I was creating all these outlines for huge series I never got to write. Young Brandon wished he could write some of the cool things he’d imagined for later books. This one I actually got to execute, and it was so satisfying. I finally got to a book four.”

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Badger1289

    If Investiture can’t be moved beyond a certain point away from its world/solar system, how in the Cosmere did three Awakeners end up on Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Investiture from different systems acts in different ways. Certain people have managed, for example, to get some kinds of Investiture to leave their home world through the use of a kind of magical pipeline. Breaths attach to the identity of the individual, and are fully given away--freely, which removes some of this Connection. It's a nature of Endowment that the gift is given without strings attached, so to speak. But while it's a renewable resource, it's a difficult one.

    Roshar is extra "sticky" so to speak with Investiture. It's part of the nature of Honor, Cultivation, and oaths. So getting it off is a problem, though collecting it is not.

    Echono

    Wouldn't consuming it also be a problem? You need a direct or secondary Bond to take in Stormlight Investiture. It's not like metals or Breaths that anyone could absorb. Although a certain grouchy ardent might have found a way...

    Brandon Sanderson

    You are right in that Stormlight is more being seen as a power source, since certain systems in the cosmere can work on a variety of different kinds. Not just anyone could make use of it, at least not unless it is refined.

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    Mycroft_canner

    I was wondering why you chose to only mention worlds we already know about? If you were okay with readers being in the dark on these things, why not mention places we don’t understand yet in order to keep everyone in the dark? As it stands, it just rewards super fans at this point (which increases the pressure to go read everything).

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do mention things you don't know about, quite often. It's either that there isn't context, so people don't latch onto them, or people ask me a lot about what they mean.

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    TheBurningDusk

    How do artifabrians cut the rubies in half? Do they use a Shardblade? As far as I understand, gemstones don't exactly get sliced very well because of how hard and brittle they are.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO--but answered (I think) in this book.

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    Hairu_Caul

    The problems of transporting investiture reminded me of asymptotic freedom a lot, is an analog of that at work in the Cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd say yes, but with fair warning that I am not an expert on quantum mechanics.

    manugutito

    Regarding this, I remember asking a question a while back about a chapter's annotation of two ardents measuring some flamespren's sizes, where sizes are fixed once measured (like real-life projective measurements in quantum mechanics). And then the annotation with Navani stating that flamespren are trapped and then the gem divided and used for conjoined fabrials, which sounds a lot like entanglement and/or cat states. So I'd say you may not be an expert but you sure know enough to at least make this a fun read for a physicist!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've joked before that the way I treat Quantum mechanics in some of these spren relationships is the way that people THINK quantum mechanics work. But I did use some intentional entanglement language in the explanation I think you're referencing. (If it's the place where she's explaining something similar to the famous two marbles in a bag thought experiment for explaining entanglement.)

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    jurble

    Maybe I'm seeing things but it seems like this chapter is reinforcing to the reader that Kaladin is special amongst the Radiants as well? Or maybe that's just me seeing it like that as a Kaladin-fanboy. I'm a sucker for traditional heroes (and being moody hardly disqualified Achilles from being a hero after all).

    Brandon Sanderson

    Every one of the main characters I've chosen to focus on has a kind of special relationship with the narrative and the Radiant Oaths, Kaladin included. But I wouldn't say that he is more so than Dalinar, Jasnah, Szeth, or Shallan.

    Echono

    Interesting, since the Oaths seemed designed to push people to be their ideal selves. Literally power from character growth. Are you saying not all radiants would have this same personal journey tied to them the way our main cast does? Some of the new Windrunners like Lopen are growing, but don't seem to have to overcome the same personal milestones the way Kaladin does. Relatedly, are the these Oaths simply a 'natural' extension of the spren that initiate them, or are they specifically designed to groom (er, cultivate even?) the Radiant to a new self?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm more saying, for example, that Kaladin founded the Windrunners. It doesn't mean the others aren't growing, but he has a special relation with the narrative in that he the reason a lot of other people are Radiants. Likewise, Dalinar (as a bondsmith) has a very different relationship with the narrative than, say, Lopen.

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    theomnilurk

    Are there any cosmere books you’d recommend reading/rereading before RoW comes out? For instance, Vivian from Warbreaker appears in Oathbringer, so, those who don’t know that character would benefit from reading Warbreaker before Oathbringer.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't think there is anything in this book on the level of that from Oathbringer, so I'd say no right now. In general, Stormlight readers will need to be aware there is a universe out there, but I try to put the knowledge they need to know in these books themeselves, not requiring external knowledge.

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    LewsTherinTelescope

    Something I've been curious about: will Liar of Partinel be released as a Sanderson Curiosity eventually? I noticed that in the stream a while back where you listed your unpublished books, you didn't list it among them.

    Also, you gave four approximate sort of "quality tiers", of

    1. Decent but not great: White Sand, Aether, WoKP, Dragonsteel Prime
    2. Readable but not good: Final Empire Prime, Mistborn Prime
    3. Bad but not horrible: Knight Life, Star's End, Sixth Incarnation of Pandora
    4. Just plain terrible: White Sand Prime/Lord Mastrell, Mythwalker

    Which tier would Liar be in?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Liar would be #2, I'd think. Problem is, it's close enough to continuity (having been written after I'd outlined the cosmere) that I wouldn't want to actually release it until after I've done the actual Hoid backstory book. I've changed some dramatic things about how I want to present the story, so it would be bad to release this one.

    We've reached a point where Dragonsteel, however, wouldn't be a spoiler. So I'm tempted to release that one in the next kickstarter. I've been kicking around the idea of an actual revision of White Sand, to make it publishable, and release that as an actual canon novel. It's the only one that could happen to.

    ItchyDoggg

    Does this mean there is no chance of a canon version of Aether of Night ever being published? I really enjoyed it and think a fully polished version would be fantastic.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is unlikely, but not impossible. Aether could be made canon with only slight changes--but it doesn't fit into the larger cosmere story any longer, so I don't know of how much interest it would be.

    LewsTherinTelescope

    To clarify, you're referring to the actual Aether of Night novel, not the future rewritten Aether books that you've mentioned before, right? Or are those not likely anymore either?

    Since Aether of Night could be canon with slight changes, I assume the Aethers in the book will be mostly canon as they are, at least in your current outline?

    If you were to revise Aether to be canon, would you be replacing Ruin and Preservation with two other Shards, or would you be more likely to just remove Ruin convincing the Twins to imprison Preservation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Future Aether books are very likely. And the aethers themselves are going to be very like the ones in the book.

    If I did try to make it canon, I'd probably remove the whole Shard plot from the book and instead either use another Shard, or not add a new one, since the Aethers (as I have them now in the notes) function without a Shard's involvement, and even predate the shattering. (Note, that's not yet canon.)

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    dce42

    Since it seems like the sibling is more "dead" than sleeping, is the event that caused this to occur from a certain Bondsmith breaking Odium's surges from the Parsh?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO!

    dce42

    Is it more of a 4/5 RAFO, or a 6-10 RAFO?

    Brandon Sanderson

    4/5 RAFO, I'd say.