Will there an audiobook [for Children of the Nameless]?
I bet there is someday--but it wouldn't be for a long while if there is.
Will there an audiobook [for Children of the Nameless]?
I bet there is someday--but it wouldn't be for a long while if there is.
Any word on whether [Children of the Nameless will] be coming out in physical form? Just curious. I know for a while the M:TG books were eBook exclusive and the story has been website-exclusive but they're also gearing up to start publishing physical books again next year so...haha.
There's a pretty good chance of this, but it will be a while. Maybe late next year?
Some years ago I met you at a reading at Borderlands SF and asked if you'd ever write for MTG. If I may follow up -- why the change of heart? Was this a one off thing or will we see more things in the future?
I can't remember what point you asked me, but it might have been when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by my work load. This hit me right when I had enough space in my schedule, and they also were willing to let me do whatever I wanted with it. So it all came together!
This is intended to be a one-off. I'm not closing the door on doing more in the future, but the stars would have to align in the right way again.
Is Children of the Nameless accessible to readers who know absolutely nothing about the Magic: the Gathering world(s) and mythos? Are there any core concepts we should be familiar with before reading?
My goal was to treat this story so you could pick it up never having read anything about (or ever played) Magic. Judging by my writing group's reactions (few of them are familiar with it) this worked.
That said, I jump right into the story, rather than doing a big lore catch-up session, so there might be aspects that are a little confusing here and there.
Rock is the cook for Bridge 4, and not once does he say, "Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?" It is a missed opportunity
I have to wonder if /u/mistborn had that mind when creating the character. I will only see him that way now!
I don't believe it. To clarify, I believe he didn't intentionally do it and I 100% believe Brandon is telling the subjective truth.
On the other hand, he invented a fictional culture loosely based on Polynesians and then made a big strong character from that culture and gave him the same name as a big strong descendant of Polynesians.
Have to stress, I'm in no way saying any of this as a negative thing...but the conscious part of the human brain isn't always aware of everything the rest of the brain is doing or where its thoughts come from.
I can see how you'd be skeptical...but you can find Rock in the 1998/99 version of Dragonsteel. He's largely the same character with the same name--though this was before he and Bridge Four were moved to the Stormlight Archive. Regardless, Dragonsteel was printed as my honors thesis several years before I even heard of the wrestler/actor. This really is just a coincidence. Sorry, /u/CarterLawler.
[An image of all of Brandon's progress bars at 100%] well i guess that's it then, no more books ever
I've actually been doing a number of small things, as opposed to one big one, like /u/pm_me_your_ide guessed. Basically, I'm trying to clear my desk of small projects in preparation for launching into Stormlight 4 in January.
These little things involved a final draft of Secret Project (which I can't announce yet--but you'll know about it soon.) Working on an audio-original novella I've been writing with a friend. Signing large mountains of books for holiday orders. Tinkering with Apocalypse Guard, which I still hope to release some day. Filling out the Skyward 3 outline. None of these really deserved a progress bar, as none of them took more than a week or so.
I will post details in the State of the Sanderson in three weeks or so.
So men cannot write, it is a feminine art. Women do all the writing and reading while also covering their left hand with a sensible long sleeve (not godless whores). But what if a proper Vorin woman is born left-handed? Would she be forced to wear a glove in order to write? Or would she do her best to write with her right hand to avoid her sinful nature as a lefty? I wonder if these women write in secret, away from the lecherous eyes of others, and expose her safe hand to write freely.
These thoughts keep me up at night. I pity these left-handed Vorins for the rough life they must live.
This isn't as big a deal as you might think, because for a lot of the population, they just wear a glove and use their left hand.
It gets interesting when you are upper class, female, and left-handed. Part of the inspiration for the safehand was the way that the left hand is regarded as unclean in some of our cultures on Earth. You might be curious to read about what left-handed people did, historically, in some middle eastern cultures.
The short answer is "They learn to be ambidextrous" but the long answer is that it can be quite a pain, and very embarrassing. So yes, you are right to feel sorry for those left-handed Vorin women.
Potential historical basis for the Vorin separation of men's and women's food. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luau
I was aware of this during Stormlight worldbuilding, and so it certainly had an influence.
How much of [Defending Elysium] is canon for Skyward?
I consider it to be canon, though it's been some time in-world, and a lot has happened. Also, DE doesn't contain the full story, just what those characters knew at that time.
I'm currently reading New Spring after finishing, and going BACK to Jordan after /u/mistborn absolutely killed The Last Battle...it's interesting. Sanderson really did breathe new life into the series. I'm particularly impressed by how he took the rules of one of the most intricate magic systems I've ever seen and turned them in their head and got insanely creative with them. Particularly Talmanes and Aludra using traveling while operating the dragons. Fantastic out of the box thinking.
Also, Talmanes is hands down the best side character who is so overshadowed by the main five heroes that it's easy to forget about him. But damn it he my favorite example of peak human bravery. Not ta'veren, not one of the great generals, not the world's most skilled swordsman. But time and time again he overcomes every obstacle, accomplishing the impossible. If it wasn't a recoming of the Age of Legends with heroes abound, he'd be the main hero.
Talmanes is one of those characters that I was very excited to write--though I anticipated my take on him being more controversial than it ended up being. I've always read him a certain way, and felt that I wanted to push him that direction in the last books--all the while knowing that some members of fandom didn't view him as I did. One of the dangers of bringing a fan like myself to write the books is that is had specific and distinct interpretations of some of the characters, particularly some of the side characters who were going to get expanded roles.
The way I read Talmanes was as a sort of "You've got to be kidding me" John McClane. A capable man who doesn't want to be there, but he's there and there's only one way out.
I'd be very interested to hear how your vision for him differed from the final character!
That is how I read him too--but also with a hint of self-awareness. Like when he'd say things to Mat, he wasn't always 100% serious, but sometimes kind of pushing Mat's buttons. That's the part I figured would be controversial, since I knew some other fans read him as straight serious.
How did you get the idea for The Rithmatist?
The Rithmatist started with the drawings. I did the little doodles first, of all the defenses and things. And I just started drawing and drawing and drawing. And I drew all those out, and I thought, "Okay, I'm gonna write a book around this idea." I wanted to do something where people played a sport with magic, rather than only using it for, like, war and things.
You've mentioned before that your conclusions, you like to have people figure it out, like, a paragraph right before it happens. Which one do you think you executed best?
Oh, man. I am not sure. It's tricky, because it's getting harder and harder to fool the readers as they get wiser and wiser to my things, so at some point, I just have to be okay with that. So I think that the early books, I was able to pull off more. Like, the Mistborn 1 ending is probably the one that gets people the best. I think I'm getting better at my climaxes, but now... that people are getting wise to me, I have to convolute them a little bit more. Like, the Oathbringer one, people were probably expecting from Book One. They have multiple books to...
What gave you the idea to write the Alcatraz books?
You know what, it was the first line. I was just doodling in a notebook one day, and I wrote down, "So there I was, tied to an altar made of outdated encyclopedias, about to be sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil librarians." And I had to write that book. So I just kind of took that line, and I ran with it.
Have you thought about leatherbound Stormlight Archives, how that's gonna work?
We're gonna print them each in two volumes in a slip case. We probably won't be able to keep those at $100; they may be, like, $150. But they will come with two volumes.
What inspired you write Way of Kings? Was that your first one?
That was not my first one. It's different-- There are lots of different ideas that usually come together to make one book. And Way of Kings is lots of different ideas. One of them was wanting to tell a story about a world where the highstorm, where the magic storm hit it periodically... The idea of how life would have to adapt to a storm. But there are lots of different ideas that come together.
On Skyward, I love the Graphic Audio adaptations. Do you know if there's any plans to do a Graphic Audio recording on Skyward at this time?
There's not plans right now. I'm trying to talk Random House into it. I guess it would be Audible into it, 'cause they have the audio rights. They haven't let us do the Reckoners. It's tough because Audible bought the rights directly, and Graphic Audio is a direct competitor. Whereas with the Stormlight books, MacMillian audio is not the same. So, we'll try.
Will we see Aether of Night eventually?
I can't promise. You've seen the aethers; Mraize's room of trophies. But I can't absolutely promise I'll work it in... The question is, if I find the time. I just stay consistent on the mainline Cosmere books. If I find the time, I'll get Aether of Night.
Do you have a giant timeline somewhere written out all of it?
I do. Actually, it's in a wiki. I work digitally for most of my stuff. It's one that myself and my assistants use to try and keep everything straight. Actually, Karen, who this book is dedicated to is my-- Her main job is to do the timelines and keep me consistent for every book.
What made you decide to take the Dark One out of the Cosmere series? You couldn't get the magic to work?
It work a lot better once I pulled him into our world, and had the people coming to our world to assassinate him. And once I pulled something into our world, I boot it out of the cosmere. That did free up the magic to work in a different way from cosmere magic, which it is doing. It's kind of based on this idea of the narrative, that stories that people tell become real in the other world. Which could have worked in the cosmere with some Cognitive Realm things, but its working much better outside.
Who do I blame for killing off some of my favorite characters in the last book of Wheel of Time? You, or Robert Jordan?
Actually, there are three people to blame. I chose about a third of them. Robert Jordan chose about a third of them. And Harriet, his wife, chose about a third of them. So you can blame all of us. She killed Bela, though. I tried to make Bela live. I know. I tried. I worked very hard.
Who killed Egwene?
Harriet has asked me not to reveal that one. Egwene, Gawyn, and some of the others...
Have there ever been other mentions of Forgery anywhere?
In the cosmere, yes, there are people who know of it. There aren't any mentions on-screen, I don't think.
In this book [Skyward], you have a little bit of telepathy and teleportation. So, was that magic?
So it's fantasy and sci-fi?
What it is is, sci-fi trappings. But my science in this is pure magic.
Where did Wayne come from? ...Who is he modeled after?
He is not modeled after anyone specific. He came from me wanting to write a character who changed his personality based on the hat he wore. Like, literal, a person who wears lots of hats... I started a short story with him as the main character, and I found he needed someone to play off of, and that's where Alloy of Law came from.
For aspiring writers, what is the number one resource that you would recommend?
Getting a good writing group.
So when you were in Houston about a month ago, was it for research for future issues of Skyward?
Yep. And I needed some help on certain things. It was super helpful, particularly going in and talking to the pilots. Like, astronaut, very cool. But talking to them about in-atmosphere flying and things like that was really handy.
Did you know Hurl's fate before you started writing it all?
Yes, I built that all out in the outline... I needed somebody who was the image of Spensa who went the wrong way, as kind of like a model for what she would see herself in. And part of the inspiration for Skyward is Top Gun, which has that as a major theme. So it was a very natural sort of thing to weave into the story as I was going.
You mentioned that Sazed is the character you aspire to be. Why is that?
He listens first, and then speaks, which is something that I sometimes have trouble with.
As a normal everyday human being, how cool is it that you have a secret lair and a symphony dedicated to one of your book series?
It is really cool... Very, very surreal at times, the life that I live.
Why did [Alcatraz] set the kitchen on fire?
He didn't intend to. It just kind of happened. That sort of thing just kind of happens sometimes. It's based off of my cousin, who accidentally set the kitchen on fire making a burrito. He started his kitchen on fire because of a flaming burrito. Be careful about-- when you're cooking your burritos.
Why didn't Spensa just go home to get food, instead of just having to hunt?
Well, there's a couple of reasons. Number one, she's kind of independent and strong-headed, and doesn't want to admit that she can't do it. And number two, she needed that time to work on M-Bot. If she were going down and coming back up, she wouldn't have the time. But she would set snares for rats, which she could check in the off-time, which meant that it saved her a lot of time eating only rats.
If I have Investiture in me from one place, does it change how it is if I travel between worlds?
No, it will stay. In most cases.
A lot of filmmakers and authors that have ended up producing not-great work, a lot of times, they'll cite the publishing house, they'll cite the studios, things like that, and they pressure that they get to release earlier than they initially wanted to. How have you managed that relationship with your publishers to effectively make sure that all of your books have met at least your criteria for excellence? And certainly your fans seem to enjoy them. How do you work that?
It is a balancing, because there is a business side to this. Writers don't get as much push as filmmakers do, because no one has invested $200 million into me making a book, right? And recently, I have moved my contracts away from advances and more to kind of just being a cooperative publishing deal with the publisher, kind of with the understanding that they don't get to give me deadlines. I write the book and I turn it in. And I'm able to do this because they trust me to actually write the books and turn them in.
And so, it is a balancing act, though, in a different way. I've never really felt pressure from the publisher. But at the same time, there's that famous quote, "Art is never finished; it's only ever abandoned." You can always do another revision. And where to stop your revision is something that I think each author kind of has to come to terms with. Because if the book were released a year later, it would be a different book. It may not be better; it might be better. It may just be different. So learning to balance that, to know when you're done with revisions and things like this, I think is certainly a part of it. It isn't a big problem for me.
Words of Radiance is the closest it came to being a problem. Because we had the publication date set, and then the revisions just took longer than we expected. And my core assistant, who was doing copyedits, was spending way too long on those copyedits. We've tried to learn to balance that. But it's something that authors have to learn to balance, so good question. I'm not sure I have a straight answer for you on it, though.
When writing, do you ever encounter a problem where you're building a world or writing a book is very similar to other things going on in popular culture, something like that? How do you build your world to be different from those, so it doesn't feel similar?
Artists and writers are more afraid, in my experience, of being thought derivative than they generally should be. A lot of times what you'll see is, people who have a similar sort of background and are reading the same sort of things will start to create things that are similar. There's a reason Brent Weeks and I both released color-based magic system books within a year of each other. And it's not because we were talking; we didn't even know each other then. But we both grew up reading the same sort of things and were exploring magic in the same ways.
I don't think you need to stress this nearly as much as you do. At least as much as you probably do. My experience has been that the only thing that's really gonna be original about your story is you. And you are going to add things to this story. Look at the number of people who have told Beauty and the Beast in different ways. Or Cinderella. We had a Cinderella book become one of the biggest books of the year just a few years back, in Cinder. You are going to be able to add things. If you have early readers say, "This feels derivative." You can always change that, or you can always write something else. Don't stress it. Write the book you want to write, and train yourself to be a writer, and it really isn't gonna be as big a problem as you might think it is. It wouldn't matter, for instance, if you released a book the same year as Mistborn that had a metal-based magic system. Like, X-Men has a character with a metal-based magic, and it was the biggest movie of the year a couple a years before Mistborn came out, and people don't read Mistborn and be like, "Wow, that's just Magneto, only lamer." *laughter* Thankfully, they don't say that. So, don't worry about this as much as you might.
I could be completely wrong, but I believe a skill is something that you pick up after years of being beaten in a school system, and talent is something that you're born with. If you've ever been out on a karaoke night, you know the difference between a skill and a talent. Is writing a skill or a talent?
What a wonderful question! ...I think writing draws on both. And I think writers need both. And to explain the difference, the skill of writing is learning plot structures. Learning how different plots play out. Learning what types of words to use in what situations. But the art of writing, the talent of writing, comes in bringing it all together to something that is somehow bigger than the sum of its parts. And figuring out that balance, and how to take something that you've constructed out of pieces that you've learned and turn it into something that is a little more magical (no pun intended) is the art of writing, and that's the part that I can't explain. I can teach you the skill of writing, and I can teach you maybe to train yourself to express the art. But at the end, the talent is something that can't be defined.
I read on your website that, to come to your class, you have to submit a manuscript or something, that you read. Has anybody in your classes published works that you would recommend?
The way my class works-- By the way, if you can't take the class, which is kind of hard to do since it's in Provo, Utah. I do record my lectures periodically. There's three years of them online. I don't record it every year, but every three years or so I record the lectures and just post them on YouTube. A lot of my students have gone on to write books I would recommend.
Let's see if I can name a few. Jed and the Junkyard War. Which is a really cool middle grade about a kid who goes to a world that's completely a junkyard, and everyone scavenges out of that. It has some really good worldbuilding. That's a good book. Like I said, middle grade targeted, so if you know someone who's, like, eleven or twelve and they want a good one book, that one's great. Charlie [Holmberg] writes great books. I just read Chris Husberg's new book. If you like the epic fantasy stuff, he does a very good job with epic fantasy that deals with religion and politics and things like that. I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody. There are a lot of students who go on to publish things. Janci [Patterson] ...writes teen books with a lot of emotion and problems and messed up lives, trying to sort out messed up lives, short books, and they are fantastic.
A question in general with your writing process. Do you learn a lot from your students that have gone on to become authors in their own right? Do you come back looking at their works and maybe saying "I can incorporate this kind of style into my writing?"
I would say I tend to learn more from the writers who were with me when I was breaking in who are around my age, 'cause we're all kind of going through the same things. So people like Dan Wells or Mary Robinette Kowal that are kind of my group that broke in around the same time, I try to talk to them a lot about writing. This is where my writing podcast came from, Writing Excuses. It was me just wanting to ask them how they fix thing, how they deal with this thing, how they deal with that. Certainly, some of my students have gone on to do really great stuff that is inspiring. Brian McClellan's Powder Mage books are great. Charlie Holmberg, who writes the Paper Magician, the Glass Magician books are great. Lot of really great writers. I don't know how much credit I can take from them. But I am inspired a lot by a lot of the books that I read. But I wouldn't say that group specifically. Though working with new writers is kind of inspiring in its own way. Less about the things they're writing, and more just remembering what it was like, and the passion you have when you're a brand new writer. That kind of fresh-faced innocence is handy for someone, the longer you go.
You were saying you were a professor? So it sounds like your writing process, that's a full-time job. Is it your full-time job, or has--
How do I balance all of these things? I am the least amount a professor a person can be and still claim the title. I teach one class one semester a year that is an evening class for three hours. I gave up all the other classes that I taught, once the writing took off. And it's really quite helpful for me to have that one night a week where I just go out and work with new writers. Because I think if you don't do that, if you don't see what new writers are doing, and things like this, then it's too easy to get crusted over in your little sanctuary and not pay attention to the outside world. But the professor part of Professor Sanderson has become very much less professorial over the years. Writing is my full-time job, and has been since I went full-time in, like, 2006 or so. So I really only had two years or so being a real professor before I became a fake one. But they still call me one, they claim me.
Which Surge is missing from the Fused repertoire?
How hard was it for you to write the events surrounding Elhokar in Oathbringer?
Moderately hard, though Elhokar had a much worse end in the original continuity, 2002 version. So this was a better story for Elhokar. So I at least can feel that I gave him that.
Is year one on the [Rosharan] calendar related to Vorinism in some way?
I would have to go look. I can't remember. I know it's in there.
Who or what is Vorinism named after?
I can't remember. I named it twenty years ago, now. In-world, it is named for somebody. The early influential writer who put the whole thing together. But that's the new continuity, because the old continuity, it was kind of put together by the Heralds.
What lie could draw a Cryptic to Elhokar?
The lie that he lived with for many years: that he was a good king... He started to finally confront it.
Are we ever gonna hear from Shai again?
You have not seen the last. I may not do another complete story about her, but she will at least make appearances. And I do have another story plotted.
Is it cold enough on Roshar for snow?
Only in the mountains.
Do you get a highsnowstorm?
In the mountains, yes, it's very weird. And it's only in the tops of the mountains. There is. But you will see this when and if we visit the Horneater Peaks, which are covered in snow, except for the hot springs.
Are there snowspren?
For Jerkface... Was he supposed to stay a jerk, or did you want him to...
I planned out his arc. I tried very hard to evoke Malfoy, Crabbe, and... Goyle. I tried very hard to evoke that, and then try to pull the rug out from underneath that. Whether I was successful or not, depends on your interpretation, but he was always supposed to be.
And the real fun and twist to this book is, Spensa's kind of the bully, but she presents him as the bully. And hopefully, as you read, you're like, "Wait a minute..."
Have your ever thought about how your magic systems would affect a pregnant woman?
I have given thought to it.
...Which system would you say would be safest as a pregnant woman?
I think Stormlight-- being Invested with Stormlight would be very safe. You would probably be better off than not. Hemalurgy would be very bad.
I'm writing a fantasy book that's like D&D. Do you have any advice for me? I'm about 6000 words.
A lot of great science fiction and fantasy have come from roleplaying campaigns. Not just Dragonlance, but also the Malazan Book of the Fallen started as a roleplaying campaign. And you will find this happens time and time again. Do understand that the things that you guys experience in your roleplaying session that are really funny are probably not going to be funny on the page, because they're funny in the situation, so you have to work on making the characters all work on the page, not as they work in your-- together. Make sure everyone's on board for you lifting and borrowing the stuff for your story. And make sure you don't use any of the Wizards of the Coast trademark things. For instance, you can't use Beholder. That's a trademark thing. But you can use zombies, because zombies are in everything. So learn the difference there.
But just have fun with it. Your job right now, as a newer writer, is just to write and practice. And that practice will teach you how you want to approach your stories as you move forward. And the more you you do it, the better you'll get at it. And the more you'll know what you need in order to make it better. And that can start from anywhere. That can start from a D&D campaign. That can start from a silly song lyric you hear. It can start from fanfic. It doesn't matter where it starts. The chore you have is to practice it and learn what works on the page, as opposed to what works in person.
When you started writing for Wheel of Time, did you find that any of your opinions changed when you wrote the characters, versus--
So, Mat was way harder than I expected him to be to write. I thought Mat would just zip out and be super easy, and I was taken by surprise by how difficult Mat was to write.
Cadsuane had always been my least favorite character, and I was surprised by how much I understood her when I had to stand in her shoes.
Is there any connection or coincidence to the Krell in Skyward, versus the Krell from Forbidden Planet?
Yes... Forbidden Planet is one of my favorite movies. Perhaps my favorite classic science fiction movie. I really dig any sort of Shakespearean interpretation in another medium. So I named the Krell after the Krell from Forbidden Planet.
What do you wish that you could have asked your favorite writers about writing when you first became a writer? And what do you think they would have said?
This one is easy. I would have said, "How do you finish your book, Mr. Jordan? Specifically: X, Y, and Z that you didn't put in the notes."
Otherwise-- You know, a lot of the things that you do as a writer aren't about what you ask other writers. And a lot of the advice you'll get as a writer won't work for you until you have written. So I wouldn't have known the right questions to ask them until I was struggling through that myself.