Recent entries

    Legion Release Party ()
    #3154 Copy

    Questioner

    Let's say a Bloodsealer got his hands on a Dakhor monk's bones. Could it still access the Dor. *Inaudible* Could they even be reanimated, and could they still be useful?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a really good question. So the bones are a conduit, much like Allomantic metal is. Allomantic metals are pretty easy to affect Investitures. I would say getting a-hold of a Dakhor monk's bones, likely, would work. Likely, they're not going to resist too much. But, I'm going to say harder to access the magic than you'd think, but easier than with regular bones.

    So I'm going to give you a yes.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    Jozomby

    At the time of the Recreance, were there any Bondsmiths?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a plot point. You are supposed to be asking that question.

    Jozomby

    I was mostly trying to find out if the Sibling was bonded, and if the break in the bond is what caused the Sibling to go into slumber

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's just say this is a RAFO with the promise that I intend to answer the question relatively quickly.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Was the wall around Elantris soulcast?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, good question! It was not soulcast. Excellent question.

    Questioner 2

    *Inaudible* find out later, maybe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Their own magic was involved in the creation of Elantris. The local magic was involved.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    Sparkle Hearts

    Can you Soulcast hair?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, if you can cut it with a Shardb...You can Soulcast even the body. Hair is much easier. While it's attached, it's going to be harder. Easier than Soulcasting a body, if you have the skill to just soulcast the hair.

    While it's attached, treat it more like a body than you would not a body, but easier than a body.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    Jozomby

    I’m wondering about the idea that you can block emotional Allomancy with an aluminum lined hat.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yup.

    Jozomby

    Okay.  So I’m wondering how much aluminum is required.  So like, an aluminum colander, versus an aluminum headband, versus…

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right.  Alright.  So, I’ll be honest with you.  The idea of a tinfoil hat was so intriguing to me, basically, that I made sure this was part of the magic system.  I say it has to be tinfoil, at least. Thicker is probably better, the way these things work. I’ll try not to do spoilers.  When Hoid lets somebody use aluminum to block signals, he was going with something that you would be able to bend a little bit by pulling on it, but wouldn’t be able to fold it down.  I’d put a bare minimum, if you want to be extra sure, on that, but lining your hat with tinfoil is viable. Particularly in the later eras of Mistborn, when some of the powers are decreasing.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    PrinceDusty

    You've talked about some of the correlation between Aviar abilities and Allomantic abilities. Are there any Aviar abilities that are not related to Allomancy, or what are some other abilities that we might see?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll RAFO that, mostly because I want to be free to pick and choose from my list as I canonize them. A lot of Aviar abilities are Cognitive type stuff, just from the way I built them so I can separate the magics. The whole Seeker/coppercloud thing, a lot of Aviar abilities are going to be riffs on that, or they're going to be riffs on glimpsing the Spiritual a little bit. And you see a lot of that in Allomancy. There are abilities that they have that you won't see in Allomancy.

    The trick is Allomany is so broad. I built the main magic systems to be able to get a little bit of everything. You see the same thing in Stormlight. So seeing Aviar abilities that you haven't seen some version of it in Mistborn or Stormlight, it's going to be... Mistborn and Stormlight touch on all different parts of the magic system on purpose. But I think you will eventually see some that don't. But they're all going to work on the Cosmere magic, so you can say they're all related.

    PrinceDusty

    Where might we see them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Aviar are known in the Cosmere but are very, very rare. But as you move forward in the future, perhaps you'll see them more often.

    Legion Release Party ()
    #3166 Copy

    PrinceDusty

    At the Pixel Project event, you talked about a further extent of Cultivation's magic than just the boon and bane? Are there any people alive at the end of Oathbringer who are influenced by that magic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Lift. Well, I guess that's a boon, isn't it? Yes, there are. But nobody on screen that has Cultivation magic, other than boons or curses from the Nightwatcher. Yes, there is such a thing, no, there's no one else on screen. But what Lift does is a hint.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    What inspired the idea of the lenses from Alcatraz?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Alcatraz books really did come from me wanting stupid things that I do to be superpowers--and I've always worn glasses, and even when my friends got Lasik or contacts or something, I was like, "Bah, I like glasses, I like how they look; I want to wear my glasses!"

    So I wanted glasses to be cool. And so I made a whole bunch of magical pairs of glasses. There is really...If you're questioning anything in Alcatraz, and saying, "Why did you do this," the answer is almost always, "Because I wanted something dumb I do to be cool."

    Legion Release Party ()
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    R'Shara

    The Fused were looking for something at the palace at Kholinar at the end. Were they looking for Hoid's Cryptic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes they were. Good question! Did people think they were looking for the black gemstone? That would be the other big guess. But they were looking for the Cryptic.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    R'Shara

    How many times did a Herald break and let the Fused return to Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, so how many Desolations were there, total?

    R'Shara

    Between the Oathpact and Aharietiam?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not as many as people say there are.

    R'Shara

    More than fifty, less than fifty?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would guess offhand more than fifteen, but not much more. That's the sort of thing I just have to look at the timeline on. You're catching me flat-footed on that one. I would have to go look. Not as many as they think, but more than fifteen.

    R'Shara

    More than fifteen? Okay, because I actually asked more than fifty.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh you asked more than fifty. More than fifteen, less than fifty.

    Legion Release Party ()
    #3170 Copy

    R'Shara

    Does a region's cultural identity ever have anything to do with their Spiritual DNA?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    R'Shara

    So, like, people expect Alethi to be tall, so they are more likely to be tall?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, what you're saying like that? No. Not that part. You're saying like, how someone...does ex...I don't have it working like that right now. That would take more... I will say no on that. Yes, but no.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    Steeldancer

    Taln, did he give in to the torture around the events of Way of Kings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to have to look at the...So he should have given in to events in the current version of the book right before...Let's just say around Way of Kings. I'm not going to canonize that, though. In the version of Way of Kings that I wrote in 2002, he'd been around for a few years before he showed up in the narrative. And in the current outline, I don't have that be the case, but I haven't written his book yet. So for canon, but it's a Word of Brandon canon, I'm going to say, he's only been around for a couple of months before he shows up at the city.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3173 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harry Potter is a really interesting example because it tends to be, in a given book, pretty hard; and then across the entire continuity it lets itself be soft. And so, what you end up having is a given book is really tight with the use of magic, though again... I don't know if you want to get into this, but when we talk about a hard magic system, there are many things we mean, and I think as a writer it's good to separate out internal logic versus external logic. If you want a hard magic system... Lee likes the external logic to really work, meaning you're asking where is the power coming from, how does it realistically affect the economics, how can I explain to someone outside the system how this magic is actually working, how does it not break the laws of thermodynamics. 

    And internal logic means that it's consistent. And so for instance, you can look at a lot of superheroes as a good example. Some superheroes do not try external logic. They just say "This person has this power, and it works this way." The further they've gotten along, the more external logic they try to add. "Oh it's the X-gene" or it's, you know, "You get the power from the sun" or things like that. That is a very different thing from the internal logic of a story, where you say, "This character has this power, it works like this. And It always works this way. We don't explain how realistic it is, but we are consistent." Two very different things. Both very important to think about for your story, but you can have a story with only internal consistency, and Harry Potter is pretty good at this. She doesn't tell us "Oh, where does the power for magic come from, and what are the laws of things," no, but it can be very consistent, particularly within a given book. Internal logic.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3174 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    For me a great magic system is one that fulfills your goals as a writer in your story. And they fill lots of different holes, and they all don't have to look the same, they don't have to do the same things. This is more, for me, about when I pick up the book, is the magic in the world enhancing the type and style of story it is, the subgenre it is, and that sort of stuff. Though, if we're asking what magic system inspired us, I will say, I still think the best magic system in fantasy is the Runelords by David Farland.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3175 Copy

    Questioner

    Is there an origin to how you designed [the Mistcloak]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yea, there is an origin to the Mistcloak. It was actually gonna be in the video game that didn't ever get made.

    *crown groans* I know, I know. But I will eventually use that some day. There's been talk of just doing a graphic novel of this character that I had written a story for. I wrote something like 20,000 words of story for the video game that didn't end up getting used ,so we might turn that into a graphic novel or we might make a video game out of it or something. But that was the origin.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3176 Copy

    Questioner

    How did Magic: the Gathering come into your life?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So I was, I believe, a senior in high school - it was '94 - and my brother came home with a deck. The local... so this would have been the late spring, early summer of '94, just when Revised hit. My brother came home from the little... back then it was called Cosmic Comics - was where we bought our fantasy novels and comics, and they had started stocking this game. And what they would do was, to get people interested, they would open the starter decks, and they would put the rares out with the starter deck, so you could pick it based on the colors of the rares that you wanted, because nothing was worth anything back then, you could do that. And you could pick the ones without the lands, because lands were dumb. Though when I ended getting it, I ended up getting a sealed one for whatever reason.

    But he'd picked the green one, so he'd gotten the Force of Nature and the Cockatrice, so he was like "ooh, big green." And I went and I bought a starter deck and didn't know what it was, and I looked through the cards (you couldn't tell what was rare back then, right) but the last card in the pack, the one I settled on I thought was rare, was a Royal Assassin, and I'm like, "This is lame. His is an 8/8 and mine is a 1/1." But of course as soon as my Royal Assassin killed his Force of Nature one time, a control player was born and I realized "Oh, this is what we do."

    Back then we played with all the cards we had in a big pile, that's just what you did. And I was the first one in our little group to realize how great a Demonic Tutor was when you have a deck of 400 cards that you're playing from. So I played 19 Demonic Tutors, I traded for everyone else's, so that I could actually find some of my cards now and then. That was my experience starting off Magic.

    I bought one pack of Legends the week it released, I had gotten into Magic a little earlier. So I guess you can find out exactly when I started playing, because I walked into Cosmic Comics and they said "We've got Legends in." I'm like, "What's that?" They're like, "You want some. It'll be gone within an hour." So I took my money I was going to spend on fantasy novels, and I bought one pack of Legends, and... I can't even remember, I might have even got a Chromium in it, but then they were gone within an hour. That was back when a set came out, it was gone that day, and you didn't see any more of them.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3177 Copy

    Questioner

    To my knowledge, canned foods were the main export of Scadrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They were definitely a... yes, they had an important part of their export economy.

    Questioner

    What would the imports be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll RAFO that for right now.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3178 Copy

    Questioner

    Can you tell us when more books are coming... as far as Alcatraz?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Alcatraz 6 is halfway done. It is moving along really well. I wrote a chunk of it and didn't like it, went to a friend of mine whose a really good writer and said, "I can't get Bastille's voice down, can you help me out?" And so we've been kind of going back and forth and sending things back and forth to each other and it's finally really working. It's snapping right together, and so I would imagine it's less than a year away. I don't know for sure. Not far.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    Steeldancer

    On Threnody, the Shades, their eyes turn red when they get really mad. Is that the same thing as with the Voidbringers and all the other ones?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have a subtheme in the Cosmere of the redness and it's supposed to be intentional.

    Steeldancer

    So it is the same thing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's the same theme. But I do not mean to imply that it's the same Shard.

    Steeldancer

    But it's the same effect?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I'm doing it intentionally. Red eyes specifically are meant to mean something but I use it a few other ways [the same way?].

    Legion Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    In Stormlight with the way the Radiant's armor works, is it going to be similar to in Aether of Night where it grows? Or do they summon it like the Shardblades?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mmmm, someone's read Aether of Night! RAFO! You should find out before too much longer. I've been working very hard to keep that mechanism hidden until we can have some things like this happen on screen. But it's getting increasingly hard.

    Legion Release Party ()
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    Questioner

    Has Kelsier done any worldhopping?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Kelsier is bound to Scadrial the same way that a spren is bound to Roshar, because of the level of Investiture and the type and the way it happened. It is possible to get off-world but he does not know what it is.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3184 Copy

    Questioner

    So, how much of an idea do you need before you start working on a book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on your writing style. For me, I need multiple ideas that are interacting in interesting ways. Some writers, no idea is required at all. They just start writing and see where it goes. Stephen King sometimes does that, when he writes books. We call it pantsing versus outlining, and I'm more of an outliner. I like lots of cool things that are interacting.

    FanX 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    The people who are from the future...*inaudible* I was thinking maybe they were from Scadrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will not confirm or deny it. It is someone from the Cosmere from a world you've seen before.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3186 Copy

    Questioner

    Some of the names in the Stormlight Archive, sometimes they almost seem a little French to me.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh yeah? Names from Stormlight are mostly coming from Hebrew or from Arabic. A lot of Arabic, a lot of Hebrew. I studied French in high school, so you never can tell. But Kelsier ("Kel-see-ay"), Demoux, and Vin are all from French in Mistborn.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3187 Copy

    Questioner

    Is the torture of Kaladin's love life just going to be an ongoing theme throughout the books? Is that what you're going to do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Relationships are not really his thing, let's just say that.

    Read For Pixels 2018 ()
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    Anushia Kandasivam

    Stories are one of the most powerful ways of bringing about change. In your opinion, how can authors strike a balance in their storytelling between raising awareness about things like violence against women, while telling an engaging story, without being pedantic or preachy?

    Do you think it's important for influential authors such as yourself, who are read all over the world, to make a conscious effort to include characters in your stories that show reinforcements of respecting women as people and as human beings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Definitely a big "yes" to your last one.

    This is a big issue, and I'm glad you asked it, because it's something I've thought about quite a bit. At its core, it comes down to, "How do you write a story that explores difficult questions without preaching." Because, at the end of the day, we're picking up an epic fantasy book because we want to go to a new world, enjoy this new world, and have an interesting adventure. And we're not picking up it up because they want Brandon Sanderson to lecture them. And certainly, there are authors I do read to be lectured. So it's not a blanket statement, "This is how someone should do something."

    But for me, there's a couple of core tenets. One is the one I've already mentioned. Which is, if I'm going to put a character in (which I think I should put a wide variety of characters in) approaching questions from different directions, make sure that I am researching that person's viewpoint, people who have that viewpoint in the real world, and make sure I'm doing the job that they would want me to do with their position, their subculture, their belief structure, and things like this.

    But that kind of plays into another big... pillar of what I think my duty as a writer to do, which I've expressed it in the books, I've gotten it through things I've heard other authors write. Which is "Raise questions. Don't give answers." I believe that if you are raising questions, and having multiple people who are all sympathetic disagreeing on this question, or struggling with this question in different ways, it innately makes the reader start to say, "Well, what do I think about that? And is it something that I need to think about more?" And not dodging these topics, but also not coming down with long sermons about them, I think, is the way that I want to be able to approach them.

    I often share this story, so I apologize if some of you heard it before. But the book that got me into science fiction and fantasy was Dragonsbane, by Barbara Hambly. And Dragonsbane, by Barbara Hambly, is criminally under-read in the science fiction/fantasy community. I have read it again as an adult, it holds up, it is a fantastic novel. What made Dragonsbane work for me? I was a fourteen-year-old boy who was handed this novel by his English teacher, and she said, "I think you are reading below your level. I think you would like something a little more challenging. Why don't you try one of these books on my shelf." And that's the one that I ended up picking up. This book should not have worked for a fourteen-year-old boy, if you read the Cliffnotes on how to get a reluctant reader to read books.

    Dragonsbane, if you haven't read it, is about a middle-aged woman who is having a crisis as she tries to balance having a family and learning her magic. Her teacher has told her she can be way better at the magic if she would dedicate more time to it, but her family takes a lot of her time. And this is her main character conflict through the story. Now, it also involves going and slaying a dragon, and things like this. And it's a wild adventure with some excellent worldbuilding, and a really interesting premise. The story is about having to kill a dragon, her partner has been asked to slay a dragon, he's the only person who's ever slayed a dragon, but he killed a dragon when he was in his 20's, and now he's middle-aged, and he's like, "I can't do that like I used to anymore." And together, they go down and try to figure out how to kill a dragon when you're an old person. But this story should, on paper, not have worked for me, but it was the most amazing thing I'd ever read in my life.

    Meanwhile, my mother graduated first in her class in accounting in a year where she was the only woman in most of her accounting classes. She had been offered, as she graduated, a prestigious scholarship to go become a CPA. And she actually turned that down because of me. She was having me as a child, and she decided that she would put off her education and career for a few years. She is now the head accountant for the city of Idaho Falls power plant, so she did go back to her career, but she put that off for me. Now, as... a middle school kid, if you told me the story, I'd be like, "Of course she did. I'm awesome. I'm me. Of course she would do that. That's the right thing to do." I read this book, and I'm like, "Oh, ditch your kids, woman. You could be a wizard!" I got done with this book, and I realized: I just read a fantasy book about slaying a dragon. High fantasy, all the stuff that should have just been brain popcorn. And yet, I got done with this book, and I understood my mother better. And it hit me like a ton of bricks, that a story could teach me about my mom in some ways better than living with her for fourteen years, because I was a stupid kid who wouldn't listen, and assumed he had the answers. But when I saw through someone else's eyes, who was very different from myself, that changed the way I saw the world.

    This is why stories are important. This is why it is important-- if you're writers out there, it's why your stories are important. When you ask, "Well, what can I write that's new?" You can write who you are. And that will be new. And that is valuable in and of itself. Those stories have value because you're telling them. And this is what stories do. And this is how, I think, I want to be approaching telling stories. I want people to read the stories, and I don't want them to feel lectured to. But I want them to see the world through the eyes of someone who sees it in a very different way. Maybe that'll make them, make you, make all of us think a little harder about some of the things in our lives.

    Read For Pixels 2018 ()
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    Anushia Kandasivam

    We have a lot of different characters in your books. There are, of course, misogynistic characters in your books, and there are storylines that feature violence against women. But generally, the male/female relationships between the main characters are quite equitable. The heroes are respectful of women in their plots and decisions. But oftentimes, the line between consent and coercion in fantasy isn't always clear. Whether it's epic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance. Do you think this is an issue that writers in the genre have started tackling successfully in recent years?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I do think... This is an issue, at least in my culture, American media culture, that stretches back pretty far. We showed my kids the original Star Wars movies, which I still love. But Empire Strikes Back, you talk about a line between consent and non-consent, and there's a scene where Han Solo backs Leia into a corner and tells her that she wants him, when she says she doesn't. And it's really uncomfortable to watch in the current climate and realization that our entire society has emphasized a certain sense of masculinity through our media for many, many years. And it's not something that I would have ever noticed if people hadn't started pointing out, "Hey, there's a problem here."

    And I do think people are doing a better job with it. I think we, as a culture, though, bear quite a burden for the way that we have glorified this kind of behavior, even in some of our best and most beloved media properties. And this goes back to my philosophy, though, that we try to do better. We don't-- Pointing backward and vilifying the creators of Empire Strikes Back because they were part of it is not my goal. My goal is for us to say, "Hey, we can do better than this. We should do better than this.

    And I guess one of my pet peeves, as a side topic to this, is that showing good relationships between people in committed relationships is just not a thing that media is good at, because media wants to have conflict. And conflict is story. But because of that, what we end up with is a whole lot of really dysfunctional relationships being held, and it's hard. Like, when I sat down to write Stormlight Archive, I wanted to write a misogynistic and racist culture that you didn't hate, but that at the same time, you're like, "Yeah, you know,it is." And how do you do that without setting it as a standard? You want to approach it and say, "Look, this is-- through a lot of history and a lot of cultures, cultures that human beings have created have been pretty misogynistic."

    So, how do you write a fantasy book that doesn't glorify this, but still says, "This is how cultures often are"? And there's a really fine line to walk there. And one of the things I think we, as a culture, need to do is, we need to get better about distinguishing between, "Hey, this is how this character is, and this is how people should be." And I'm not sure if I have the answers on that, at all. But one of the things I do like to do is to show, people can be in relationships that have some conflict, but still who genuinely love each other, and genuinely do work their problems out like rational human beings do in the real world. And you can still have conflict and a great fantasy story with people whose relationships are functional.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3191 Copy

    Questioner 1

    When you write the books, do you set up the setting and stuff first, because it's an amazing setting.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I do a lot of planning ahead of time. I'm naturally an outliner. It's not the only way to write a book, some people do it the opposite way, but I do a lot of outlining.

    Questioner 2

    I have a lot of trouble outlining myself.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sometimes it doesn't work. There are some writers, that if they outline the book, it actually ruins the book cause they feel like they've already kind of gone through and written it.

    FanX 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    What is your favorite parable from the Way of Kings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not sure if I have a favorite. It's kind of like what I'm thinking about or feeling at the moment. One of the reasons I haven't written the whole thing out is because I want to be able to add to it when the right mood strikes me and stuff like that. I will say, the ones i haven't written yet will probably be my favorite if that makes any sense.

    FanX 2018 ()
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    Questioner

    Well I'm an English teacher major for little kids and I was wondering what you think, or any advice, on how to make my students life long writers and readers.

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I was a teenager and I didn't like books and a teacher, the first teacher who really took the time to find a book that would match me rather than assigning me a book that they liked, was the one that got me hooked, so I kind of focus on that idea. I tell kids sometimes, books are like shoes, not everyone wears the same kind of shoes and when you wear the wrong size you might think shoes are painful but if you get the right size they make your life way better. Books are kinda the same way so try lots of different things, introduce them to a lot of different things and encourage them to read what they love.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3194 Copy

    Questioner

    So how big are spren, like when Kaladin sees a spren, how...

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on the spren. lifespren are real tiny, little dots. windspren *presumably gestures*, like that. Some spren are as large as buildings. There is no strict size increment, but you can guess the size if I don't say otherwise. It really depends.

    FanX 2018 ()
    #3195 Copy

    Questioner

    So, my question for you is writing related. I just finished a new first draft in my novel.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I know you! Yeah, ok sorry. It took me a minute.

    Questioner

    So yeah, I finished my draft; what was it that helped you when you... cause I recalled hearing on Writing Excuses, you talked about this, how editing was the bane of your existence earlier, you just didn't wanna do that, and I'm finding that too. I dont wanna jump in and fix all the terrible things. What was it that helped you kinda like...

    Brandon Sanderson

    It honestly is the thing that held me back the most. I think it was kinda partially just, getting rejected enough that I realized I just had to learn to do it. That was part of it. Giving myself space after finishing a book, writing something else and then coming back to it when I was feeling kind of fresh about it and exited about tackling it again, that helped a lot. It was also kinda like growing up as a writer, if that makes sense, and realizing I'm not ever gonna sell a book until I could learn to take a good one and make it great and then I just started buckling down and learning to revise.

    WorldCon 76 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the things I read when I was researching for Stormlight that was really interesting, I kind of dug into, was this idea that practical medicine, particularly through the Middle Ages up approaching the Renaissance, was actually the one that was regarded with fear, superstition, and dislike. Which is why it fell to the barbers. And what we would call the "superstitious physician" was a well-respected position, depending on where you were looking. And it was this weird area where people who were approaching things practically and actually doing what you needed to do, were being ostracized and vilified. It wasn't as bad as being an executioner; that was the worst deal. But there was this sort of thing, that those people stayed-- You did not want your son or daughter marrying into that family, and these sorts of things. It was really interesting.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
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    Questioner

    With the Stormlight Archive, when you created this, do you know everything? Do you know the end of the book at the beginning?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I do, but... You have to be willing to change as you go, as the characters mature and you mature. For instance, Adolin wasn't gonna be a main character in the original outline. And as I developed the first book, I realized I needed another perspective of somebody who could offer perspective on the things that were happening. That was Adolin's perspective. So I brought him in as a main character. So that wasn't in the original outline.

    And for instance, the ending of Book 2, with Kaladin, was actually originally the ending of Book 3. So I ended up switching those around. So things like this happen.

    Books 4 and 5, my dividing line, where those two divide, is not really strict right now, and so one of the things I'm doing in outlining is saying, "Let's make sure Book 4 feels like a book, rather than half of a book that Book 5 ends."

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3198 Copy

    Questioner

    I'm curious about Kaladin. Did you write Kaladin as having depression? It never distinctly says it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, he has depression. I purposefully didn't distinctly say it, because it's not like they can diagnose in their culture. But yes, Kaladin has depression. Straight-up depression. And it's not even... Like, there's PTSD stuff in the third book, but that's not the cause of it. He just has chemical depression. Even going back to when he was a teenager. And it's not like the story is... In some ways, it's about him overcoming it, but it's not about it going away. It's about a hero who lives with depression.

    Questioner

    And I personally, I have depression, so I relate with Kaladin so much when I read it. So I just think it's really cool ,that... Most people don't write about heroes that have depression.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wanted to do it, in part, because I have some dear loved ones that... You know, this is just part of their everyday life. It was something I just didn't see being touched upon. And I remember my wife talking about it and saying, "It's kind of frustrating to read a book about someone with depression because that's the only thing about them. Books, they're like, problem novels. Can't I just read a book about somebody who has depression?" So, she was a big help.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3199 Copy

    Questioner

    In the last [Alcatraz book], why did you make everyone die?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So Alcatraz is making things out to be a little worse than they really are. Because he wanted to end the book on a sad note, because he always promised everyone he would. That's why Bastille feels she needs to write the real ending. The next book should not be nearly as grim as Alcatraz wants you to believe everything is. That's why she wrote that little secret ending. So keep your hope up: it's not nearly as bad as Alcatraz wants you to think it is.

    Idaho Falls signing ()
    #3200 Copy

    Questioner

    So, I created a magic system that's pretty easy to grasp at first. But I realized I have aspects of it that are very complex I'm having trouble tying to my novel. I was just wondering if you've ever run into these kind of problems with your magic systems.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, though I kind of like it. A magic system that looks simple, but you can dig into deeply, is a good magic system to me. If you can write it so that some characters just use it surface-level, and other characters start to ask these deep questions, you'll be able to do something for everyone. People who just want to read it and enjoy the adventure and the mystique of a fantasy story can. Those who really want to dig in can dig in. I would say don't worry, don't stress it, that's actually a really good thing.