Recent entries

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3151 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's actually a really good point because often times you can also get away with things in fiction by making main characters who don't know what they are doing. Obviously, I couldn't do this when my character was a trauma surgeon. But, for instance, I'm pretty bad with horses. If you haven't read my books, I've ridden horses a couple of times, enough to know that people who really like horses really like you to get your horse stuff right.

    And so, when I was approaching this series, I'm like, my character is the proverbial cabbagehead when it come to horses. He gets things wrong; he doesn't know what he's doing, and a lot of times if you do that, you not only give yourself a reason for your early readers, your beta readers, who know something about it to point out, "Oh here, here is a great way, here's what I see someone who doesn't know about horses do wrong." It's really fun, put it in the book; but it also gives you a sort of plausible deniability, where you're like, "Yes, that was from Kaladin's viewpoint, he has no idea about horses, he's describing it wrong. He's scared of the things."

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3154 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Say I'm excited about this, but I'm going to stake a claim on the panel's official cabbagehead position. Every time I'm on a panel or doing a podcast it is good to have a cabbagehead. Which is, I'm the writer, right? My job is, I've found, to know enough about these things to be dangerous, so if there are writers out there and you're feeling a little overwhelmed by this, here's how I approach it. I, when I was first writing epic fantasy I found out a few of these things, and I'm like, "Oh no, this kind of destroy the types of stories I want to tell."

    But the more I learned the more I realized, no, it can shape the types of stories I want to tell it doesn't have to destroy them at all. What I did was I used this kind of rule, that is it takes actually a fairly brief amount of time to become dangerously knowledgeable in a subject. Like say, if you can get yourself 20 or 30 percent of the way there, you know enough to know what you don't know. My goal is to always get myself there with research, usually on pop-history books or pop-medicine books or things like this. Write my stories, and then to find an expert, which I've used extensively, particularly in the Stormlight books, where one of my characters is a field surgeon, that's his training, and go and say "What am I doing wrong?"

    Usually, the response I get from the medical professionals is "Wow, this isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, you're still wrong about a ton of things. But you don't have to rip apart your story, the fundamentals are there, you know that a gut wounds is really dangerous and often takes a long time to kill. You know about these things and you are trying to deal with them and approach them. I can give you some tips to make it more authentic." That balance has just worked wonderfully well for me. 

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3155 Copy

    Questioner

    You mentioned that Adolin was supposed to be killed in the... *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, he was supposed to, I mean the original outline had, not the original... The outline for the 2002 version, he died in. He never died in the outline for the 2010 version. By then, I had reworked *inaudible*. But he did-- I'll eventually release The Way of Kings Prime, and you'll be able to see. Both Adolin and Elhokar died in that one. Yeah, the confrontation between Dalinar and Elhokar *inaudible*, Dalinar has to kill him to better the country. It's a really <unlikely thing> for Dalinar. I went a different direction in the published version. Those are two of the big things. Navani's not in the books at all. There are a whole bunch of things that I changed... Yeah, Dalinar killed Elhokar *inaudible*.

    SparkleHearts

    How did... Adolin die, then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Adolin died in a highstorm, I'm pretty sure. He got caught in the wrong time. Like, Adolin was not as big a character. Renarin was always the big character. So, things went wrong, and Renarin's brother got... so.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3156 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The other thing that I might end up doing is, Dan and I are working on noodling on The Apocalypse Guard its possible that would be after Skyward, next YA thing. Because I've already written one book and the Dan can write the second book and then I write the third book. So taking a little pressure off, something like that. Dan has really good ideas on how to fix that book.

    SparkleHearts

    So is it gonna be kind of like a shared universe thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, we would just co-author it, Brandon and Dan. What would happen is I've already him-- Like, the the first book. The idea is that he'll rip out the bad chunks and write newer things to go in there, and then he will write a second book, and then I write a third and together we have a trilogy. Which could work really well because Dan's strengths as an author really align well with my weaknesses, and my strengths align really well with his weaknesses.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3157 Copy

    Questioner

    Will there be a Hero of Ages leatherbound edition?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it will be this Christmas. Isaac just turned in the Hemalurgic Table artwork. So we shipped it to the publisher last week, so we should have them in time for Christmas. And the Hemalurgic Table, he knocked that one out of the park. We've been waiting a long time to get that one.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3158 Copy

    Questioner

    You were in Toronto, and you read something you'd written on a plane about a really young girl, and a coffee machine...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, young girl with a coffee machine, yes, that was the Apocalypse Guard. The opening of it turned out really well, then I lost control of it, spiraled out of control. I haven't figured out how to fix it yet, but I actually pulled it from the publisher. And I will eventually release it, but I gotta fix it first. It was mostly worldbuilding issues. It just didn't come together at the end; too implausible, too many things to keep track of, too many infodumps.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3161 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Please explain what you will about Shards and Splintering and Slivers.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    An event happened long ago which destroyed something called Adonalsium into 16 pieces. And 16 people took up that power.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    People?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I call all intelligent species people. If someone takes up the power and lets go of it, it has the effect much like a balloon that's been stretched and then the air is let out. I call that a Sliver; based off of the Lord Ruler calling himself the "Sliver of Infinity". The Lord Ruler is someone who held the power and then released it. And so, current Slivers are the Lord Ruler, Kelsier, and there may be others around who at one point held the power and let go of it. A Splinter is a term used by certain people in the cosmere for power of Adonalsium which has no person caring for it, no... no person holding it, which has attained self-awareness.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    So is that like the mists and the Well? Are they...

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    They are not, because they have not attained self-awareness. But, the Seons are self-aware. So, any piece, for instance there were some spren on Roshar before Honor and Cultivation got there. Those were already Splinters of Adonalsium where he had left power which attained sentience on its own. So, it can be intentional is what I am saying, does that make sense? You have seen other Splinters.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Are the highstorms related to the Splintering of Honor?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The highstorms are more related to the mist from Mistborn which terminology we have not discussed yet. You have seen Splinters quite a bit on various planets.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3162 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Is the Palanaeum named for Palah?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes. In fact, it was named based on—it was Greek in our world—the Athenaeum? It was based off of that.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Did we see Palah?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I believe every one of the Heralds is mentioned or shown somewhere in the first book.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Someone was wondering whether the old woman who was wandering around the Palanaeum was her.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    That is a very good guess. I won't say specifically, because some of them are intended to be more obvious and some of them are intended to be red herrings. So, that was a very good guess.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3163 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Was Odium able to Splinter Honor because the Heralds abandoned the Oathpact?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Good question. Um, their abandonment of the Oathpact is related... but mostly tangentially. If I was pinned down on that, I would say no.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Is there any of the Oathpact still functioning because of Taln's continued participation?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, indeed.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3164 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Did the Splintering happen before the Recreance?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I will reveal this as we go. However, be aware that in the past, when a Shard was killed, the person holding it, it is a slow burn to actually kill someone; because power cannot be destroyed. So, what it means to be killed means something a little different in these cases.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Did Tanavast survive Honor's splintering?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Tanavast is dead. Good question. However, that is as of the start of The Way of Kings.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    So he could have survived the Splintering...

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    He could have survived the Splintering.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    ...as a mortal...

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Well, he could have survived for a time, but then he could not have then...

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    ...passed away in his sleep...

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Right.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3165 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    (Speaking of the division surge) Is that a re-framing of, at one point in time you were talking about weak/strong forces?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Um, weak/strong forces, yes, that's the one that sent me there partially. Like, I'm not actually... the idea of the fundamental forces is a cool thing to me so it's not like I'm actually trying to use the weak and strong forces, the idea of there being fundamental forces. I wanted to go off on it in a fancy way. Like this one right here I told them was surface tension. But it's not really surface tension. It's more like um, the people with this could take a piece of cloth and snap it out and it would become hard as if the cloth became steel. I'm trying to explain this scientifically, but it doesn't work scientifically. Imagine as if they could restructure the atoms so that they became a latticework like a crystal rather than being soft like...cloth. I'm calling it surface tension, but it's not really surface tension.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Tensile strength?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It's kind of like tensile strength. I have to go through Peter and say "Alright Peter, come up with what we should really call this." He does the hard science a lot better than I do. I do the armchair theories and then he goes, "Ok, now this is the math if someone were to actually fall off of this and 0.7 gravity and the weight of the bridge...". (looking back at the chart) So what can I give you that I didn't give her? Um, one of the orders is called Bondsmiths.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3167 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    What was the inspiration for the necromancer pizza delivery story?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Death by Pizza. I came up with laws of necromancy that I thought would be super cool and I tried to find a book that would fit it. And, that book was fun, but bad. The rules were that necromancy is someone that has been killed and returned to life and each time they return they are more powerful. So a guy who has died five times and got more powerful throughout the course of a novel is a cool archetype that I thought would be a fun thing. So, it's like at the end of the novel, "I need more power, so do I die and get it? Or, not" and things like this. It was a cool concept and even with a mash-up with an urban fantasy world, the world was not built enough so that in the end it was like he was running around an empty city not one populated with as much mythology and wonder and storybook as I wanted an so I eventually said it isn't working and maybe I’ll pick it up again another time.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3171 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Will The Alloy of Law be a trilogy of its own or is it just going to be the one book you read from tonight?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Well, the 1st one was The Alloy of Law, the one I read from tonight is the sequel, so there's at least two. I signed a contract with, well, I haven'’t signed anything yet. I offered Tor two more beyond The Alloy of Law; so, Shadows of Self and one more. So, I have promised Tor three of them.

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    So, there could be more?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I have not plotted this one. It does not have the same sort of interconnected arc as the others. It could go further. I think I would cautiously most likely do three or four and stop and if I wanted more short books like that, I'd pick different characters in a different location.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3173 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Do you have in your mind all, like, 150 different metallic effects?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, but I haven't named them yet. I approached that and thought, "This is just mind-numbing". So, yes; one of the things I'd like to be doing and you may see more of this... each combination has a slightly different effect than what you'd anticipate.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3174 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    If you have a series of Inquisitors, like a family of Inquisitors having children for generations over...

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Would the Hemalurgy influence the sDNA of the children? Is that what you are asking? That is a hypothesis that has merit in the way the magic system works (grin). It is not a supposition to be discarded out of hand.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3176 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    The change in how the magic (on Scadrial) interact with each other, was that done by Sazed?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes it was. You will find a theme. The snapping in Mistborn is actually a repeated theme through a lot of the different magics. Um, but what I felt at the end of the day Sazed would do something about it. So, even though that is part of the magic system, he changed that. The change to Feruchemy is more a matter of other factors such as the large amount of interbreeding that happened following...and things like that. And so a lot of people with Feruchemy sDNA mixing with people with people with Allomantic sDNA has affected the way the magics blend, so to speak. That's not done by Sazed. That's just kind of an effect.

    Steelheart Seattle signing ()
    #3178 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Are there going to be other characters other than Hoid that will be crossing over between books?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes, in fact there are characters in the way of kings...(essentially mentions the known Ishikk interlude worldhoppers). I told people that there is a Terriswoman in Warbreaker somewhere, I believe that would be somewhat hard to spot. That one, I don't think you will be able to pick out until you see her later on and then go back and say 'wait a minute'.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3183 Copy

    Questioner

    What was your... like, with The Rithmatist, cause that's my favorite story, I love the plot. What inspired it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Muggle at Hogwarts. Kid who goes to magic school who does not have any powers.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3185 Copy

    Questioner

    If you could do that, [write Kaladin's fourth Oath], I would very much appreciate it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah I know, the whole internet would very much appreciate it. You're gonna get a RAFO. Or do you want me to write one of the other ideals instead? I gotta keep a few things close to my heart. Now, that can also be a RAFO that, when the appropriate book is out, and you know what it is, you could come and have me revise the book to put it in.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3187 Copy

    Thousandarms97

    I know Allomancy is, like, "alloy" and "mancy." Were you inspired by "alomancy", which is the divination of salt?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wanted to use "mancy" because in part I was working in a seeing-the-future with atium. And I thought: number one, it's resonant; and number two, it works because we are looking at the future. So that's where the name came from.

    Thousandarms97

    No future salt-based magic system, though?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. I've toyed with it for a while, but I just have never come up with anything that I'm satisfied with.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3188 Copy

    Questioner

    The Letters in Stormlight Archive. Wit and Sazed; are those the two people that are talking to each other?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wit and Sazed are both involved in the Letters. Sazed is in there, and there are others, as well.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3189 Copy

    Questioner

    Rithmatist? Is there...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Someday, there will be a sequel. I sat down and tried to write it. And I ran into some things that were just kind of problems, both in the worldbuilding and in the story I was gonna write, and it just didn't work. So I put it aside, and I've been working on the outline, and when I feel comfortable that I can do a sequel that's as good as the first one, I will write it, but it was not going well enough, that I felt it was... something was missing. So, I will take another stab at it before too much longer...

    I now wish that I had not left that little teaser at the end of the first one. If I would have wrapped that up a little tighter, then you wouldn't have... I mean, I would still write it, but I feel bad about that teaser that there's more when it has been hard to get that sequel done.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3191 Copy

    Questioner

    How much longer will that Oathbringer series...

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, it's two arcs of five. So, we've got three books out right now. Book Four and Book Five will be about two, two-and-a-half year things, maybe as much as three between. They are big books. I write them as a trilogy, so they take about three years. Each volume is a trilogy with three books put in together as one. That arc shouldn't take me too much longer, though; I'm starting on Book Four in January, and it is-- I will write until that one is done. Then, there's gonna be a second five-book arc. So, if you're waiting, wait until Book Five is out. My editor says I have to finish it before he retires, and he's in his sixties. Moshe, yeah. We'll see if I can manage that, but that's what he wants.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3192 Copy

    Questioner

    What was the metal that Hoid gave Vivenna and her crew to use the fabrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You're asking, what metal it was that let them use the fabrial without the screamers detecting them? So, should be aluminum. I don't think there's anything sneaky about that. The only thing that I've had to change is, I wanted the sheathes that they use with Shardblades to be aluminum, and Peter tells me I just can't do that. It's not in continuity. So we have to have some sort of aluminum... alloy, or something like that. I'm not sure exactly what I wrote that broke the continuity on that, but he is certain that those can't be aluminum. So, those aren't aluminum, but it was aluminum around that. And Hoid's bag has an aluminum lining, too.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3195 Copy

    Questioner

    Do you have any general advice for an aspiring fantasy writer, things I should be doing to try to--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. So, coming to WorldCon's a good start. I don't know if you found them, but going to any panels that editors are sitting on. Often, there's a panel that will be like, "What's new from Tor.com" or "What's new--" That's just a good place to watch what the editors are excited about and learn from them. Maybe if you see them at a party or something later on, you can ask them about the things that they're releasing, and stuff like that.

    The number one thing that makes a great writer is a mediocre writer who's willing to practice. Try not to put too much investment into any one piece. You wanna put your whole heart into it, but don't base your whole career whether on that piece turns out right. I'm not explaining this well, but idea is that the purpose of your writing time is to train yourself to be a better writer. And hopefully the product is this awesome book that you're passionate about, but if it goes haywire, that's gonna teach you, sometimes, a lot more than anything else. So just stick at it. Practice. Be willing to do it regularly and consistently. And if you can teach yourself to be consistent, that's your number one goal.

    I was asking my agent the other night, just last night actually, I'm like, "So what breaks someone in these days?" 'Cause the market's so different. He said, "It's the same thing that always broke someone in: they write a great book." He says, "I've never picked up a book by an author as an agent that I have been passionate about and thought was great that didn't sell." So it says that a good book still sells, in his opinion. Breaking through that agent veil can be really tough, and self-publishing is a totally valid method of going these days.

    I have a series of YouTube lectures, which are my university course that I just recorded. So go give those a watch. We talk a whole bunch about writing and the business and things like that.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3196 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you get illustrators for your leatherbounds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My assistant Isaac, who's my art director. He just looks around on the internet, and finds people who are doing really interesting art, and he asks if he can license them. So, if you know an artist, or are an artist, that's done art of my work, you send it to Isaac.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3197 Copy

    Questioner

    When you finished a book, or years away from a book, when you realized, "Oh, there was a loophole here, something didn't make sense." How do you react to that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I react to it by saying, "Well, that always happens." Happens to everybody. You got two options. Well, maybe, like, three. One is, you just leave it alone. One is to do what Tolkien did, where he just rewrote the book. The Hobbit, he just did a new version that had the loophole closed. Or you can later on find a reason to explain it in world, which we call 'retconning' it. Any of those are fine. Don't stress about it: everybody makes mistakes. If Grandpa Tolkien had loopholes, then everybody's gonna have loopholes.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3198 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm an aspiring writer. I want to be a writer, and I'm working on submitting a story to Writers of the Future. Would you recommend starting shorter? Something less ambitious?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, here's the thing: there are advantages to both ways. Sometimes, if you're the type that might get discouraged by trying something so big, and having it spiral out of control, then sometimes it's better to start small. Most of the time, as long as you're okay with the fact that your first one might spiral out of control, that process will teach you so much, that it's better to start ambitious, and just see where it goes. And just know, you may have to come back to it. Like, my first book, I never finished. I started when I was sixteen. But I wrote a big chunk of it, and it taught me so much. And then my next book, I did finish. And then eventually I came back to that first one, and used those ideas again for another book later on. So as long as you're okay with the idea as a new writer, it may not turn out exactly like you want it to, go ahead and start with something ambitious. Write what you're passionate about, and what you're excited about, and just be willing to let the process teach you. 'Cause nothing will make you a better writer than practicing.

    WorldCon 76 ()
    #3199 Copy

    Sparkle Hearts

    The Girl That Looked Up. Is that a real story that happened in Roshar? Or just a metaphor?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, Hoid heard it from someone. He did not make it up.

    Sparkle Hearts

    Because I think Shallan told the story...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, he told the story, too- He knew the story, she knew the story... What you're asking is if it's actually historical?

    Sparkle Hearts

    Yes. Did it happen?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll give you a RAFO. Because there's actually a little bit to it that I can't talk about. That probably tells you more than I even should already...

    There are some weird things about that story, particularly the version that Hoid is involved in.

    ...Shallan tells half the story, and then later on, Hoid comes, and the story happens again differently. But there are weird things when Hoid is involved in the story that are relevant.