Recent entries

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3101 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 ()
    #3102 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 ()
    #3103 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 ()
    #3105 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 ()
    #3106 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.

     

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3107 Copy

    NightWillReign

    So you said that you’ve moved Szeth and Kaladin’s fight from book 3 to Words of Radiance. Did you make any changes like this on your outline for Oathbringer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There was a lot of general restructuring of Oathbringer after book two was written, but there's no one "big" sequence that was moved into the book.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3108 Copy

    NotOJebus

    Hey Brandon!

    Here's a quote from Oathbringer:

    She willed steps to Soulcast beneath her feet. Individual axi of air lined up and packed next to each other, then Soulcast into stone—though in spite of the realms being linked, this was difficult.

    Hey Brandon, what's an axi?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is the word for an atom in the cosmere, coming from one of the original magics used on Yolen pre-shattering. To some, it's a theoretical smallest division of matter. But others use it scientifically to mean simply an atom.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3110 Copy

    MoriWillow

    When a Steelrunner taps speed, does it work by breaking the laws of motion, letting their speed be higher than it should be when considering their kinetic energy during movement or the force they impart upon impact with something (and inversely while storing)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of [Feruchemy] breaks the laws of thermodynamics, and this is indeed an example.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3111 Copy

    MoriWillow

    I've noticed a sort-of pattern in some of your work of human/non-human partnerships (spren, Aviar, Seons, etc, and now spaceships). Is this a concept you're consciously interested in? (It's actually probably one of my favorite parts of the relevant works.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it's something I'm very interested in. It happens to be a theme of the cosmere, so you'll see it a lot. One reason for this is that I think a purpose of SF/F is to explore things that don't exist to our current knowledge (things that are intelligent, but not human) but which it's very plausible humanity will some day deal with. Another reason is that I like the idea of looking at the things we do from the outside--and the perspective of something like a spren or a machine is very interesting for me to try to wrap my head around.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3117 Copy

    dvoraen

    In the Midnight Essence vision Dalinar has in The Way of Kings, the female Radiant was wondering "who released it". Shouldn't the Radiants have known then that it was Re-Shephir that was the general source of Midnight Essence?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, but Midnight Essence can be extracted and used independently.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3119 Copy

    dvoraen

    When Dalinar teleports away from Vedenar back to Urithiru, the Thrill immediately comes to him even though he just went a very large distance away. Was this due to Odium talking to him directly at that point, or did Odium move Nergaoul there to maintain the effect of the Thrill, or was Dalinar already Connected to/consumed by Nergaoul and the distance effectively didn't matter because Spiritual Realm Things(tm)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dalinar's feelings are not always the Thrill. A part of him legitimately feels these emotions--and there are other things happening as well. (Either way, Odium did not move Negaoul in that scene.)

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3120 Copy

    dvoraen

    Excluding Midnight Essence from Re-Shephir, have we seen at least two examples of the Unmade creating spren that people dismiss as normal, uncorrupted spren? (One type in The Way of Kings, one in Oathbringer, specifically.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Humans are not terribly good at determining whether a spren has been touched by Re-Shephir. (That's a yes.)

    Blightsong

    Did you mean Sja-Anat or can that Unmade also affect Spren in a similar, if not the same, manner?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that was just me typing too fast.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3125 Copy

    NotOJebus

    We've spoken before about how you don't usually read Cosmere fan fiction, and I was wondering, what about other things people create? Like artwork or podcasts and such.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I barely have time to get to the books written by my friends, or the ones in the industry I feel I should be reading to keep an eye on it. I look at fanart, certainly, and post a lot of it--but I don't listen to any of the podcasts.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3126 Copy

    BoldFontOfYouth

    On The Orville, the enemy space aliens are called the Krill - any connection there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe? The word Krell is one of those ones that pops up in SF now and then, as an homage to The Forbidden Planet. (Which is why I chose it.)

    I can see a network being more worried about using the actual name, and making the creators go with something similar but not the same. You'd have to ask them.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3132 Copy

    Extesian

    Simple, harmless, totally non-contro one. Can a spren unilaterally sever a Nahel bond (i.e. where the Radiant doesn't agree and hasn't technically, according to spren and Radiant, broken an oath)?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yup, no controversy here at all.

    This is possible. But I'm not going to go into the mechanics.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3133 Copy

    WeiryWriter

    Hemalurgic spikes lose power unless they are in a person’s body (or immersed in blood), does that body need to be living, or would a corpse suffice? If so, at what point in the decomposition process would the spikes cease to be protected? When they are no longer encased in flesh, before, after?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't put a specific number or date on it, but I'd say as long as the blood itself would be viable if moved to a living body, it will work.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3136 Copy

    SquishyMouth

    How would you say Skyward compares to, say, Mistborn in terms of completion? By the end of The Final Empire you give us enough answers to leave us satisfied with just the first book, but the trilogy as a whole works without feeling like the story is stitched together - will the Skyward series have the same feel, or will the ending of book one immediately call for the next book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The ending of Mistborn is one of the standards (in terms of how stand-alone the book feels, yet with promises of where we're going) that I try to achieve. I'd say that Skyward doesn't quite feel as stand-alone by the end as Mistborn or Steelheart, but more so than TWoK did.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3138 Copy

    Miss_Silver

    First on Nahel bonds and a bit of a darker question. We know from Syl that if their bonded person is killed in some way, the spren does not die like they do when one breaks their Oaths. However, would Oaths count as being broken if the Radiant committed suicide? Were there any Radiants during the Recreance who did in an effort to spare their spren?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This would be an individual case basis, but I would say that the baseline is no--this alone wouldn't count as breaking the oaths, but getting around the issue of that specific event wouldn't work.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3139 Copy

    Miss_Silver

    Is there a market for decorative metalminds on Scadrial? (IE gemstone studded earrings or fancy engraved bracelets. A jeweler's gotta make a living somehow, y'know. d= )

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, there is a market for this--even among those who don't have specific talents themeslves.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3140 Copy

    Miss_Silver

    Is there a maximum number of spikes a person can have? Would having more spikes eventually cause issues, be it mental or physical limitations?

    Also do the benefits from spikes have some form of diminishing returns, or could some one have like, 200 bronze spikes and be able to sense a person burning metal through copper from 50 miles away?

    Brandon Sanderson

    1) Yes, it would cause big issues.

    2) #1 interferes greatly with what you would like to do here, but there are other ways of magnifying the powers to the extent you postulate.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3141 Copy

    meramipopper

    What would be Spensa's favorite food?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Her diet doesn't have a ton of variety, but I'd say she would pick anything that isn't algae paste or rat meat.

    meramipopper

    Obviously Spensa would love anything that isn't what she normally eats. However, if Spensa could afford food, what would be her favorite?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think she'd SAY she wanted "warrior's food." She'd imagine that as big hunks of meat. In reality, most of what we find delicious, she would find so overly-spiced that she'd never be able to stand it. I think you'd find her finding simple, but flavorful, foods as her favorite. Rice and beans. Mashed potatoes. Something that doesn't have a lot of spice, but still has flavor. Crepes might completely overwhelm her.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3142 Copy

    Argent

    Now that we have canon art of Ishar, Shalash, Jezrien, and Vedel, what Rosharan nationalities would you say they resemble the most?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Jezrien and Vedel would be seen as Alethi, most likely. Shalash would be seen as Azish, while Ishar would be seen as Shin, probably.

    NightWillReign

    Wait, but if Ishar looks like he’s from Shinovar, how did the Tukkari accept him as the God-Priest?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a RAFO--but is a question you're supposed to be asking.

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3145 Copy

    InsaneScotsman

    On First of The Sun, does Silverlight have a permanent outpost on the Cognitive side or is it still too dangerous to hang around?

    Lastly, any cool tidbits about First of The Sun or its people would be awesome, worldhoppers or the like?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is actually a RAFO too--it would be relevant if I write a sequel to Sixth of the Dusk. The opening sequence would involve an expedition into Shadesmar...

    Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
    #3150 Copy

    Secondskrull

    Way of Kings epigraph:

    "Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns (Odium)"

    Words of Radiance back cover:

    "The Bondsmith (Dalinar), born in blood and death, striving to rebuild what was destroyed."

    Am I onto something?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    Phantine

    Actually, I have a question for /u/mistborn about that bit. The epigraphs were dictated, and honor's shattered pieces are in the highstorm. Is it "the broken one reigns", or "the broken one rains"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is reigns. (Though that is a cool possible interpretation.)