Recent entries

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3051 Copy

    Aurimus_

    And lastly, a cosmere point of contention. You've said before the Moon Scepter works as a Rosetta stone? Is this literal, as in translating one Aon to it's MaiPon counterpart, or more metaphorical, IE allowing use of a Selish magic outside of its country?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Moon Scepter does not "unlock" regional use of Selish magic, but those who wanted it believed it was a vital step in figuring this out. It's more the first, but has implications for the second.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3052 Copy

    Aurimus_

    From a writing/world building perspective, - how much of the maths/science do you do in the background? US hardback copies of Oathbringer had a map with an inworld long/lat system, for example, and Shagomir and Jofwu worked out (with help from Peter) the amount of land on Roshar, and how much of the planet that the continent takes up. What inspired you to go to this depth? Is there anything you decided /not/ to do the maths for and just went with hand waving it away?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a thing I do more and more of as I gain access to the resources for it. (I have a few very large-scale mathematical issues I'm using people smarter than myself to solve.) I did a lot more hand-waving before I had these resources. I'm not horrible at math, but didn't go beyond college calculus, and just don't have the time to get everything right on my own.

    It's something I do want to be right, however. It's more of a personal desire than anything else--but I think it's going to be important the further we move toward a science fiction cosmere.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3054 Copy

    Phantine

    Irich had that degenerative disease. If the Set still had Miles available, could he have cured Irich's disease by giving him Compounded health with a primer cube?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This requires more steps than it would appear, but this is the sort of thing people will trying very hard to figure out in coming novels.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3055 Copy

    Phantine

    If I stab someone with a steel spike to steal their physical Allomancy, what determines which power I steal? Where the spike is stabbed into, my Intent, or some other factor?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Intent is at play once you get to the finer points of Hemalurgy, but that can get wonky, as evidenced by some certain events with Spook and even Vin.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3056 Copy

    Phantine

    Skyward question: What actually IS the proper procedure if you think a vat of algae might have been contaminated by a coworker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. That's one I didn't think I'd get. You'd get your superior, prevent any blending between the vats, and record in a form exactly what the contamination would be. They're not worried too much about sabotage. This is focused on sanitary food-preparation ideas.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3057 Copy

    R'Shara

    I was wondering if we can take the Death Rattles as written? So night is night, not knight. Reigns is reigns and not rains or reins, etc? Since they're written down by someone who is listening to someone else speaking, there could be confusion there. Then again, they're speaking Alethi, or the local tongue, and being translated to English, so their homonyms would be different. Also, are they always about the future, or can they be about the past?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, this is a tricky one. I was tempted to go into it during the reigns/rains one--but since there is a follow up, let me see if I can explain it.

    You note the mechanism I've said before that I rely upon, that of the idea that the books are done "in translation" from their original tongues. This is to give us another layer of plausibility in the linguistics--but it does introduce a kind of wildcard here in the interpreter. (Who is me.)

    I am not against using word usages similar to homonyms as plot points, so long as the characters themselves are capable of making the misunderstanding. (The ending of the Mistborn trilogy involves some of these types of word and definition related issues.)

    So you're not wrong to asking questions like this. I use them very sparingly, but I do use them. In that specific case, however, I was not intending there to be confusion.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3058 Copy

    Argent

    These recent AMAs have made me wonder about something. With the kind of public presence and interaction you have with your fans, you create a imbalanced sense of familiarity between yourself and us, your fans - we often feel like we know you well (or at least know much about you), while you, for the most part, don't know us beyond the few words we exchange at events. With this in mind, have you had to change the way you interact with people, online and off - and if so, how?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I recently watched a video essay on the idea of parasocial relationships, which is a topic getting some attention on things like Youtube right now. And, while I thought the essay was interesting, I have to say...I kind of disagreed with everything they were saying. (Not the data, but the conclusions--which generally centered around the idea that these relationships were somehow false or dangerous.)

    Yes, the relationship is imbalanced like you say. But the video essay was making these relationships as some kind of scary or false thing--and I just don't see it. I do think you know me by reading my work and by interacting with me here. I don't think you see a false version of me, and I think you probably do know me pretty well, all things considered. And part of the reason I read book (and why I write them) is because it lets us get inside of the mind of someone different from ourselves.

    If there were big things I wanted to change, I'd talk about them. Honestly, most of what I see from the fans seems pretty healthy to me. We in sf/f can take things pretty seriously, but we do it because it's fun and we like to obsess about things--but most everyone can step back when we need to and deal with real life too.

    So...don't know if that answers your question or not, Argent. But I think you're used to that kind of thing from me by now... :)

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3060 Copy

    MS-07B-3

    We know Scadrial is speeding on its way to modern, Earth-like technology, including computers. So what is the internet like in the Cognitive Realm? Is it connected to Scadrial's Cognitive aspect? Does it form into its own standalone location? Do memes become spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is going to be really fun to write some day. But RAFO until then.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3061 Copy

    MS-07B-3

    It's noted in Oathbringer that Taln was the only Herald who was not supposed to have been one, and that he was not a king, general, scholar, or anyone "special" as it were. So what occupation did he hold before becoming a Herald?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He was a soldier and bodyguard.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3062 Copy

    MS-07B-3

    Skyward question! The light line is mentioned as using two fingers to shoot it out. Are they the middle two fingers, and was this inspired by any jovial community arachnid folk?

    Brandon Sanderson

    First draft didn't have specific controls to shoot it out, and during revisions, I thought, "Oh, what the heck. It's not a big part of the story anyway." So yes. :)

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3068 Copy

    Snipexe

    Is there one true Shardblade form for a spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "True" in this sense is mutable and it can change, based on perception. I would say yes, but it is not a kind of platonic truth, it is a momentary truth.

    Snipexe

    Will dead Shardblades change, when an owner has them for a long time will they slowly change or will they stay the same?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shardblades have changed before that were considered dead.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3070 Copy

    OrangeJedi

    If all the practitioners of the Dor but one just died, for whatever reason, would that remaining practitioner have access to more power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. Good question. There is magic systems that work that way but it is not the Dor-based magics. I've got an unpublished book that works exactly that way called Mythwalker. The magic system of that was called the Septs, and your family divided the power of the magic, but it was not a one-to-one ratio. If you had a total power, if one person had it was at a 1, but if two people have it each of them were at like a .8, and so suddenly it became this thing of, how many people in your family do you want to have power and things like that. It was really interesting. But the rest of the book was terrible.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3073 Copy

    Questioner

    Soul Forging. Emperor's Soul. If one created the stamp properly, could you, using it, say, Windrunner you stamp, rewrote past to be Lightweaver. Possible?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is possible and a little easier than a lot of other things. It's gonna run into problems... in that the Oaths are gonna be hard to align.

    Questioner

    Probably require some very fine crafting on the stamp.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Very fine crafting on the stamp. And there are certain people that they're just gonna have a hard time fitting into certain Orders. This is a lot easier though than just taking a random person and making them into one, because you're gonna already have Investiture that they've got.

    Questioner

    And have the basis of the First Oath.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. So this is not as hard as it might at first sound. It's the sort of thing that people in the cosmere are looking at. Like, being able to transfer magics between-- and things like that is one of very much interest in the cosmere.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3076 Copy

    Questioner

    lWhat if you mixed-- ike in Alcatraz, what if you mixed like a Windbringer's Lens with like a Fire--forgot the name.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh man that would be terrible. You'd have a big black firestorm. It'd be awesome. Someone should do that.

    Questioner

    So they are allowed to mix?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They can. It's very hard.

    Footnote: The questioner was probably referring to Windstormer's Lenses and Firebringer's Lenses.
    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3077 Copy

    Questioner

    So I'm wondering, how omniscient are the Vessels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a difficult question to answer because they don't know everything, but they could theoretically. And so, the actual Vessel needs to apply the power and learn things. And they don't know the future exactly. Particularly, you'll notice some hints of this in Oathbringer. There are certain things that really foul with their ability to see the future. It's whenever we kind of get the equivalence of an atium shadow right? Reflection that reflects that someone sees the future, and then suddenly you end up with this kind of difficult chain to follow.

    Questioner

    Can you tell me who might be the most all-knowing out of all of them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will say the older they are the more they generally know.

    Questioner

    So probably not Harmony then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably not Harmony.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3078 Copy

    Questioner

    In Mistborn 3, when Ruin is controlling Inquisitors. Before, they said that Inquisitors were bald. When Ruin is controlling them, does he still have them shave and stuff like that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They still kind of go through their daily life. It's not like he's-- His control can get stronger, and weaker at times. And so they mostly kind of just do what they would normally be doing, until he moves that one right there at that moment where he seizes them, if that make sense. So yes, but it's less like he's like "I am now going to puppet-control them to go to the bathroom," right? He just lets them do that, and when he needs them he seizes control.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3081 Copy

    Questioner

    Where did the idea for the light bands come from? I think they are pretty neat!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I started with my desire to have starfighters changing directions quickly by using energy ropes to spear asteroids - and worked backward to have something that could foreshadow this.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3087 Copy

    Questioner

    In the second series of Stormlight Archive, are they going to be about the same characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question. So when I sat down to build The Stormlight Archive, there were a couple of things that I learned from The Wheel of Time. One was that the further an epic fantasy series goes, the more important it is that you have a structure to the series. It's very easy for the books to start blending into one another, and it's also very easy to let side characters take over books. This is very natural for us as writers, particularly in a big epic fantasy, and I felt that when I approached The Stormlight Archive there are a couple of things I did. One is that I said "All right, I'm going to confine all my side characters to these things called interludes, where I can just go crazy and do whatever I want, but they have to be like, isolated in their own containment unit called the interludes to prevent me from turning from the books just going in all directions at once."

    The other thing I said is, "Each book is going to be about an order of Knights Radiant, and it's going to have a flashback sequence directly tied to that order." So that when you say "All right, which book is book three," you're like, "Oh, that's Dalinar's book, that's the Bondsmith book." All of the characters are in all of the books, but each book has kind of its own soul and theme that helps me as a writer structure where I'm going to release information, and what it's going to be about. And so when I set down this, I said said "I'm going to pick 10 characters, 10 orders (and they are not always going to be exactly what you expect), but I'm going to build each book to have a theme based around those things."

    The first five were Dalinar, Kaladin, Shallan, Eshonai and Szeth. So those are the five books you are going to get in the first arc. And the second arc is Lift, Renarin, Ash, Taln and Jasnah, right. Now, all the characters from the first five will be in all those books, and some of them will still be main characters. You can expect it, like it is one series. All the ones that survive *crowd groans* no spoilers. But you can expect in the back five, people that you are expecting that are main characters now will still be main characters, and you will have a lot of space dedicated to them still, but the flashback sequences, and the themes of the book, will focus on those five. And so it hopefully will help it all have a structure and a feeling. 

    Between book 5 and book 6, in-world, there will be a time jump of about 10 years, so just be expecting that. But I can't say anything more without getting into spoilers, so I won't. But that's what you can expect.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3088 Copy

    Questioner

    Based off of your previous question, the first Kaladin became Adolin?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Adolin was actually in that book, and so the first Kaladin wasn't even-- didn't even become Adolin, like the first Kaladin was like-- you've read this book before probably. The young peasant boy trains to be a knight, that sort of thing and was just too familiar, it was too-- I was playing the tropes and hitting the nails on the head, but in a way that was not interesting. Adolin and Renarinare both in that book basically as the people that they ended up being. Shallan and Kaladin are the people that I basically pulled out and replaced with new characters, because neither of them were working. I'll someday release that book and you can read it and be horrified about this book where really, really different things happen, and the characters half feel like themselves and half don't. Bridge Four isn't in that version of the book, Bridge Four is actually in Dragonsteel. Which is another book I wrote, which is where Dalinar started too. I wrote 13 books before I sold one. Dragonsteel was number 7 or 8. Half the ideas for the version of The Way of Kings you read came from that and half the ideas came from the original Stormlight Archive.

    The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
    #3090 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have any plans of writing any prequels for the Mistborn [series]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, not right now. One of the reasons that-- I have to put an asterisk on that. I did write out a prequel story happening hundreds of years earlier that was going to be the video game, that ended up never getting made. So there's a chance I will do something with that,a graphic novel or something. So there is a chance. What I won't probably tell is the story that you read in the epigraphs, the story of Rashek and Alendi and all those things, because I feel like that story is told best the way it is in the books, that you get it revealed as it's going along. If I told it again, I feel like it would just be a rehash of that. I can see myself telling other stories potentially, but I am the type that generally likes to keep moving forward. There are some great prequels out there to books that I love, but mostly I like sequels, so I like to move forward. Not impossible, but yeah.

    Miscellaneous 2018 ()
    #3092 Copy

    OrangeJedi (paraphrased)

    Are there a significant number of Shardblades that have made it off Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Define significant.

    OrangeJedi (paraphrased)

    More than 1 / A number of them are that could come up later.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    There is a connection between spren and Roshar that normally prevents spren, even dead ones, from leaving the planet. Note I said normally; do not imagine a large trade of Shardblades going off world.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3093 Copy

    Yata

    A little curiosity over the word "Shin", is it a deformation/twisting of their origin ? like "Ashyn person" --> "A Shyn person" ---> "A Shin person" ? (I assume this is a quite safe question to response without going into the rabbit hole)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shin/Ashyn do have a relationship, but I didn't specifically intend "A Shin" to be Ashyn.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3094 Copy

    Yata

    During the Kholinar's sequence, Kaladin is covered with Shallan's illusions and suddenly the illusion runs off. How that happened ? At first I simply thought he breathed the Stormlight by accident, but that Stormlight had to be keyed to Shallan not him and therefore not elegible for a snack.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. (But don't read too much into this particular RAFO.)

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3095 Copy

    diffyqgirl

    What is writing plot twists in a world with online theory forums like? It always seemed to me like it must be incredibly hard to be clever enough that the theory forums don't figure everything out, while still dropping enough hints to keep the casual readers from being confused. As an example, while there were plenty of surprising things in Oathbringer, I had kind of forgotten that the characters didn't know that humans aren't native to Roshar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, there are a lot of ways to look at this. The one you highlight was a particularly tricky one, because the books have to work on multiple layers. First, they have to keep the hardcore fans interested. Secondly, they have to work for what the characters know. But thirdly, they can't be so obtuse that they edge out the readers who don't follow every detail on the forums.

    With the specific element you mentioned, I tried to layer a reveal that would act as a twist for the readers with a separate one that would shock the characters (but which the majority of the fanbase had already figured out.) But on in the long run, I've realized that trying to one-up the fanbase is a bad path to go down--I have to accept that people are going to guess what I'm going to do, because there are only so many rational things that are in-character that the characters can do. And going outside that requires either bad characterization or bad foreshadowing.

    Therefore, one of the best methods is to point the tension away from certain questions toward others that depend on character strength. For example, "Will modern Knights Radiant be able to get armor?" is a weak question, and one that is pretty obviously answered in the books already. But "Will this character be able to work out their issues enough to progress in the oaths" is a stronger question, as it is in doubt--and depends on how the choices the character makes.

    Given the option, though, I'd rather live in this era where I can get away with stronger demands upon readers in terms of continuity than you used to be able to reasonably do. I think it makes it easier to do the types of stories I like to tell.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3096 Copy

    Jamester86

    Couldn't resist a cosmere question: Since rivers can be quite shallow, could someone "swim" under their counterpart in Shadesmar? (Or to rephrase that...are the landmasses in Shadesmar equivalent in depth to the "water masses" in the physical realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's not a 1/1 ratio, by necessity, and rivers tend to be reflected by rises in Shadesmar. So you couldn't, in most cases, swim through the beads under them.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3097 Copy

    Jamester86

    Is writing a full book with no magic system easier harder when compared to the freedom (and limitations) involved in traditional fantasy? (I haven't read the spoilers, so if there is a magic system, ignore this question :-)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Science in a book like Skyward tends to be its own type of magic--even the Legion books (taking place as the closest to our own world) really have a brand of magic, done my way. So I suspect I'd work this sort of thing into a story no matter what. I do tend to try to do a different tone or style in different genres.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3099 Copy

    mraize7

    Can [Kelsier] and [Hoid] be friends or companions or allies?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, anything CAN happen--but for now, I'll let their interaction on screen speak for itself.

    But feel free to imagine anything you would like, for yourself. It will be a while before I can get back to this particular interaction.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3100 Copy

    Phantine

    Let's say some kid ended up with Szeth's Oathstone and tried to pull an Aladdin by destroying it and freeing him.

    Szeth doesn't seem like he'd actually let himself be freed, but with the Oathstone destroyed, what does he do next (designate a new rock?)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Use the pieces and try to glue them back together, I'd say. If you actually completely destroyed it, it kind of depends. He might transfer the devotion to the object used to destroy it, or he might try to get another one assigned to him by his homeland--though he would have trouble convincing himself to go back.