Recent entries

    Fantasy Faction Interview ()
    #3301 Copy

    Marc Aplin

    And that, again, fits in kind of with this question. Final one in this section. Could we ask... The pictures and the maps and the illustrations used are absolutely fantastic, and for me as a reader, really kind of added... Especially the way you kind of put pictures after you'd described them, in a way, because then you could compare what you thought to what you saw. How do you think that added to the book, and was that something you planned or was that something the publisher or...

    Brandon Sanderson

    This was all me. In fact, the publisher was kind of skeptical, because it's not something you see in epic fantasy. And publishers, you know, they have this weird sort of mix inside of them—they want to do what's been successful in the past. And yet, unless you innovate a little bit, you won't continue to be successful. And that's a hard balance. And to Tor's credit, they decided that what I was pitching on this book with all these illustrations was in the right direction. That it would be evolving, and it would help with the sense of immersion, rather than fight against it. But they really worried it would feel like a graphic novel. There's nothing wrong with graphic novels, but we don't want the audience to get the wrong opinion of the story.

    And one thing I was very careful to do is I don't illustrate the characters. I want the characters to be how you imagine them, and I don't want to give you a picture of them. So these illustrations I really wanted to be in-world illustrations done by someone...done by Shallan. And this was something I've wanted to do for a while, and I felt was integral and important to the book. And that without it, the book wouldn't work as well because Roshar is a pretty weird place. It's got some pretty bizarre feelings to it, and I wanted to give some illustrations to help the reader get a real sense this is a real place. So that was me. I'm glad that people are enjoying them; we did dedicate quite a bit of work making them all come across—there are four illustrators that worked on the book. And so...yeah.

    Fantasy Faction Interview ()
    #3302 Copy

    Marc Aplin

    Okay, another question that's kind of similar to that one. Why are so many Alethi point of views used as opposed to others?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Why are so many Alethi point of views used as opposed to others? This was basically one of the changes I made as I was working on the series. I originally had planned to show all of these viewpoints, from all across the world, and I found that, when...the original time I tried this book, that since people's plots weren't interwoven together, the book was very difficult to read. Because people weren't connected to one another, emotionally and spiritually. And so because of that, when I rewrote the book, when I started again, I made sure to put Dalinar and Kaladin and Adolin in proximity of one another. So that this story...their stories would play off of each other. And so you would have a consistent storyline.

    That said, we do have...you know, those three are all Alethi. But Shallan is not, and Szeth is not. And those two have fairly significant parts in this book. Most of the characters will be Alethi for that reason, that their stories are tied together. But you will....see, this is one of the reasons why, with this book, once I pulled everything back and was telling Alethi stories, I felt I needed to show the breadth of the world, and that's where the interludes came from, was me wanting to jump around the world and show all these different other characters and cultures, but shown in bite-sized portions so you didn't get overwhelmed with all of these different characters, that you knew when you go to an interlude, you can read this person and then you can kind of forget about them. You don't have to follow who they are, because they're there to show you the breadth of the world and what's going on, but not necessarily to show you...to go on a big distracting tangent.

    Fantasy Faction Interview ()
    #3303 Copy

    Marc Aplin

    Okay, the next question we have (I think this one you might have answered before) but have we met all the main point-of-view characters yet? Or, if not, what percentage are we talking?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You have met almost all of them. Let me do a count... Let's see. The main characters in the book are (in the series) Kaladin, and Dalinar, Adolin, Jasnah, Shallan, and Navani, whom you all met in this book and most of them had viewpoints. Szeth, Taravangian, and Taln. And one of the other Heralds; I'm not going to tell you who that is. But I think you've met...you have, I'm sure, met that person; I know which scene they're in. And so, I think you've met them all, basically. Taln is the person who shows up in the epilogue.

    Fantasy Faction Interview ()
    #3304 Copy

    Marc Aplin

    Okay. So The Way of Kings. The question that we had from the forum: Is The Way of Kings the rediscovery of old magic or the invention of new technology? Or maybe a combination of both. Could you elaborate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question—somebody's been reading my mind. First, I do want to say, thank you, guys, all, for reading the books; thank you for all you're doing supporting me as a writer. With this series, one of things I wanted to approach was...both of those concepts, actually. A lot of fantasy has the feel of magic's going away. Magic is dying. This goes back to Tolkien, with the idea that, you know, the elves are leaving and magic is going to leave the world, and that's always made me a little bit sad, that these books have this theme. And so I did want to write a book about the return of magic. But beyond that, I'm very fascinated with technology, and the development of technology, particularly as it relates to magic. And so this series is about the rediscovery of magic and how magic interacts with science, and the treating of magic in a scientific way on a large scale. You know, you see that in each of my books, with magic being treated scientifically, but I really wanted to do it in a way that changes the lives of everyone. The common people—magic changes their lives as much as technology changed the lives of the common people in the technological revolution we went under. And so that's what I'm going to try to approach in these books.

    Fantasy Faction Interview ()
    #3305 Copy

    Marc Aplin

    Okay, so Way of Kings...the people who don't know the background, I'll just give you a little bit. The book was written actually before pretty much anything else of Brandon's was published. I think it was 2002, 2003 he finished it. Obviously he went on to publish Elantris, Warbreaker...Mistborn as well, of course. And the Wheel of Time books. Has his experiences with these other books changed the way that he sees the Stormlight series continuing from this point?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I finished Way of Kings the first time in 2002, it wasn't ready yet. And I knew...when I finished it, I knew something was wrong. My skill wasn't up to writing a book of this length yet. I was very proud of it, but proud in the way that, you know, someone who finished their first marathon but with a horrible time would be proud of having run that marathon; and I knew I needed to get better as a writer before I could actually do it justice. And so, yes, it's evolved. There were flaws in the original book. The character of Kaladin was just boring, in the first write of it. Dalinar stayed about the same. Dalinar's plot changed the least, and who he was changed the least. But both Shallan and Kaladin had deep flaws in how I had written them, and I just wasn't...I wasn't creating characters deep enough yet. And so I set it aside, partially because I knew I needed to get better as writer. When I wrote it again in 2008—actually it was 2009, I think—I started over from scratch. I threw away everything and did it again. And my skill had increased by that point to the point that I could do it justice, I think.

    Fantasy Faction Interview ()
    #3306 Copy

    Marc Aplin

    So the series, people are presuming it's going to be ten books long because of a comment you've made, is that correct?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is correct; it's going to be ten books. Ten is a holy number in the series. It's related to the Order of Knights Radiant and the number of magic systems and things like this. So ten books.

    Marc Aplin

    Is the 1000-page format something that's going to continue throughout the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Each of the books will be medium long. I'm not sure...you know, I can't tell you exactly how long they will be. Instinctively, looking at my outline, I feel that the first is probably one of the longest in the series, which is a bad way to do it, honestly. You really want to have the first ones be the quick pow, and the middle ones get to be the thick, meaty ones. But I'm expecting... This one was about 400,000 words; I'm expecting them all to be around 300,000 words. There may be some that go a little bit longer. It'll depend on the book and how many characters I decide to deal with in that book, and the plot structure of the books.

    Fantasy Faction Interview ()
    #3307 Copy

    Marc Aplin

    So, Way of Kings. Absolutely huge book, standing at 1000 pages. Even then, the book is taller than your average kind of novel. So, the question I had for Brandon was, with people like Patrick Rothfuss kind of realizing their works were too long—The Kingkiller Chronicles for example was one big book that he split into three parts so that it was publishable—what was it about Way of Kings that meant even though it was so big, it still had to be just that one book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I couldn't do that same thing with this particular book because of the way the plot arcs work. It worked very well with Rothfuss' book—of course, I loved his books—but what he's got going on is sort of an episodic story where Kvothe does this and Kvothe does that and Kvothe does this. And you can kind of separate those as vignettes. With Way of Kings, what I was doing is...I've got three storylines for three separate characters who are each going through troubled times. And if we were to cut the book in half, for instance, you would get all of the set up, and all of the trouble, and none of the payoff. And so what'd happen is you'd have actually a really depressing first book, where nothing really good happens and people are in places that they...mentally, they haven't come to any decisions yet; they're struggling with problems. Essentially, you'd only get the first act; you'd get all of the setup and none of the payoff.

    Marc Aplin

    I see. The two books in front of you here, obviously being re-released... Which point is it that this cuts off at?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This cuts off... We decided we had a fairly good break point, because Shallan's storyline comes to...there's a resolution. And some decisions have been made, and it's kind of... We broke it right at the kind of middle point where people are deciding, you know, we've had these struggles, we've had these struggles; now we have some sort of promise of victory. But the victory or things haven't actually happened yet. And so I do strongly recommend that people read both books—have them both together to read together—because there is a certain poetry to the arcs that are built into this. The second half is lots of massive payoff for the first half. But we did find a decent break point. But conceptually it's one novel, even if you can break for a while and then pick up the second one. Conceptually, to me they are one.

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3308 Copy

    Epic Games

    What are the benefits of people becoming more comfortable consuming their books, games, etc. digitally?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Certainly there's just a convenience factor. In book sales, we lost a big convenience factor during the 90s and early 2000s, and that is that we lost mall stores. A lot of the bookstores in malls went away. And a lot of the distribution to little gas stations and corner stores went away, for various reasons that I can't explain in the length of this interview. Basically, our science fiction and fantasy books lost a lot of the places where readers could pick them up. As I said before, a lot of people when they run across a good book and start reading it, they love it. Yet now they don’t have as many opportunities to come across books. Recently they've been having to go to one of these big box stores, they have to make reading a destination. Because of that, all the people who would pick up a cool science fiction book that they would see in their corner store aren't reading anymore. Hopefully if we can show them books on their phone or in their game, they'll be reminded, and we can replace those distribution methods we lost with these new distribution methods where we can sell books for half the price and deliver them right to you in the moment of super convenience. I'm hoping this will encourage more people to look into our stories.

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3309 Copy

    Epic Games

    How do you think the digital space is changing the publishing industry?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's doing a lot of things. It is making it easier for people who don't frequently read books to run across books. I'm hoping that people who love to play their Infinity Blade games will see the story there and download it, and remember that they once loved to read books. Because a lot of people who are playing games read occasionally. I've found that most people, when they read a good book, say, "Wow, I really do like reading great books. Why don't I do this more often?" It's just a factor of that it slips our mind or we don't find time, or video games and movies are really flashy and books are anything but flashy. But there's just a wonderful experience to reading a book. I think there's space for all of these things, and I hope that more people can discover and be reminded of why they love books.

    It's also taking away some of the constraints. Book length is no longer as much of a factor as it used to be. You can have a really long book or a really short book, and the binding doesn't dictate the length of your story, which I really like.

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3310 Copy

    Epic Games

    What are some of your favorite videogames and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I was growing up I always really enjoyed the Final Fantasy games because they felt like they spent more time on story. I would list Final Fantasy 10 as one of my favorites of all time. That said, the last few installments I've found myself getting more and more bored with. I guess maybe you can only do the same thing so many times, I don't know. I haven't been excited about the most recent ones as much; maybe I played 10 and just loved it so much that after that, where does it have to go?

    Recently I've liked the game Demon Souls, in part because of the fantastic sense of immersion that everything went into in that game—the ambiance, the level design, the solitary feel. That is a way you can tell a great story without a lot of dialogue and a lot of forcing cutscenes down your throat. Batman: Arkham Asylum was just brilliant, for all of the reasons I stated above. And I've really enjoyed the games that ChAIR has made—Shadow Complex, Infinity Blade of course.

    Epic Games

    What is your most memorable gaming experience / best gaming memory?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably Final Fantasy 10 as I mentioned. At that time I was working the graveyard shift at a hotel, and I was doing a lot of writing on my own trying to get published. I would come home every morning at seven a.m. and play for a couple of hours alone in the quiet apartment, thinking about my own stories, experiencing the story of the game.

    Other than that, I would say, honestly, the game that sucked most of my time was probably the original X-Wing game, which really made me feel like I got to be an X-Wing pilot, which, you know—Star Wars geek! That was so much fun! In a lot of ways every space game since then has failed to live up to the sense that I got from that game.

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3311 Copy

    Epic Games

    How do you think games can improve their approach to storytelling?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, this is an interesting question because as a writer, I have to admit something about games. At its core, a game with great gameplay and a terrible story is still going to be a fun game. But a game with a great story and terrible gameplay is going to be a horrible game. There's no getting around the fact that first you have to have a very fun game. It just can't go the other way. So there's a reason why, historically, some of the writing for video games hasn’t been that great, and that's because you have to make sure you have a fun game first.

    That said, the more money that's being involved in video games, the more production time we have, and the more opportunity we have to really be taken seriously as a large mass media experience, the more time I think can legitimately be and should be devoted to the story. You've seen some really awesome games with great stories come out like the Infamous series, for example.

    I feel that the dialogue in video games tends to be cliched, and this bothers me because when you have cliched dialogue, you end up with cliched characters, you end up with cutscenes that are just jokes that people skip, and you lose a lot of depth of immersion for these stories. So I would like to see the dialogue get better, and I would also like to see character arcs get better. I frequently see video game characters making big decisions and changes in their lives based on very poor foreshadowing, or very poor character growth, where it's just—suddenly now I'm a bad guy, or suddenly now I'm a good guy, or whatnot. I would really like to see video games put more rigor into it, to let us experience a character's growth.

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3312 Copy

    Epic Games

    Which of the characters do you find most compelling and why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Siris, our main character. I felt I really needed a protagonist who was compelling, so I did everything I could to make him fit the bill. I also think that Isa, the character I created to go alongside him, is very fun and very interesting, but certainly Siris is the most compelling.

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3313 Copy

    Epic Games

    How does the novel, Infinity Blade: Awakening, fit within the game universe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a bridge directly from game one to game two. It begins basically right at the end of game one, and then game two overlaps. You get to play through the ending of the story, for the introduction to the game when you're going through the tutorial and whatnot. Then the game heads to new ground. This was actually really fun for me—I liked writing something and then having them say, "Wow, we're going to make this part of the game. It'll be our prologue."

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3314 Copy

    Epic Games

    What did you find most interesting about working within the Infinity Blade universe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was really interested by something that may be surprising to you, and that is the constraints that I had. I find that good creativity commonly comes from having really interesting limitations. I often say this about magic—the best magic comes from what the magic can't do—and the best characters are the ones who have really interesting limitations. In the same way, a lot of times the best stories come when you have some really interesting constraints. You can't have too many—but let me give an example.

    I saw that they have healing magic in this world, and it works like standard video game healing—boom, you just drink a potion or cast a spell and you've been healed. If you look at that from a real-life perspective, that is way too easy to be interesting narratively, and it also has all kinds of wacky ramifications for the way society works. So I took this and said, "How can I make this work in the actual framework of a story, in a way that's interesting, different, that people haven't seen before, that does not contradict the video game, and yet also doesn't break the economy of this world?" So I built things so that drinking a potion or using a magic spell heals you but it also accelerates your metabolism and ages you for as long as it would have taken you to heal naturally from that injury. So what we've got here is something that doesn't really affect the video game at all, but if you look at it world-wise, yes we've still changed the world somewhat, but now there's an enormous cost. You don't want to heal every time you get a little cut, because you're taking weeks off your life. Taking the chance to heal yourself is only going to be something you're really going to do if it's life or death for you.

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3315 Copy

    Epic Games

    What was the process of working with ChAIR like?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I met with them, wrote down all of their ideas, and then spent several weeks doing some hardcore brainstorming and reworking, where I kind of had to break apart the outline of their world and rebuild it from the ground up. Then I would bring things to them and say, "What do you think of this, what do you think of this?" I built for them a story bible, essentially a world book for their setting, and then constructed what I thought would be a really great narrative to bridge the two games. I was like an outside expert they brought in to consult on their story.

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3316 Copy

    Epic Games

    What do you think you were able to bring to the story of Infinity Blade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm a writer. This is what I do. One thing I've noticed—and I'm a big gamer, I enjoy video games—is that a lot of video game people have great ideas. They have excellent storytelling instincts. What they don't have, often, is a lot of practice doing it—you get better at telling stories by telling stories. A lot of the video games out there will have this core of awesomeness but a little bit of roughness around the edges when it comes to dialogue, making sure that the worldbuilding is rigorous, making sure that the characterizations are smooth and have nice arcs. I think that's something I can bring expertise to.

    One of the nice things about video games is that it's a big collaborative effort. There are certain things that a writer like myself should not be involved in. I don't have any practice coming up with fun ways to play games. I know some writers who assume that because they know how to tell stories, they'll be able to make a game that's interesting, but that's certainly not the case. The developers at ChAIR are experts at making really fun, awesome games. But I can help them with their worldbuilding, making sure it's consistent; with their dialogue, making sure that it's both evocative and interesting without being cliched and overdone. I think that the more people with skill in various areas you have working on a project like this, the better the outcome will be.

    Epic Games interview ()
    #3317 Copy

    Epic Games

    Have you ever worked on a video game before?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is my first extensive experience working on a video game. I have sold video game rights on one of my other books, but I haven't begun working on that yet.

    Epic Games

    How did you get involved with Infinity Blade?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They approached me. The developers of Infinity Blade were fans of mine. They tell me they spent some six months trying to get hold of me, going through different channels. But they kept trying because they really wanted to work with me. Eventually they realized they had a contact with Isaac Stewart, who has done a lot of art for my books and is a good friend of mine. So through him they eventually got me to dinner to pitch working on this project with them.

    San Diego Comic Con 2010 ()
    #3318 Copy

    Shawn Speakerman

    Since [Robert Jordan] obviously is one of your heroes, what kind of influence has he had on The Way of Kings?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, it's so hard to pick out my influences in different ways. I mean, Robert Jordan's had a huge influence on me. I was looking back at my very first book that I wrote back when I was nineteen, and I read the beginning and I realized (I'd never realized this before) I started with a wind scene. I don't know if you know this, in Wheel of Time, all of the books start with this omniscient perspective of the wind. I did that. And I said, "My goodness, I didn't even think..." You can call it an homage, but it really was unintentionally ripping him off. And I started, I had three or four pages of just the wind blowing through and looking at things in the exact same way. And I never realized that until I looked back at that.

    I was deeply influenced by Robert Jordan's use of viewpoint perspective. I think that's the thing I've learned most from him that you can see distinctly in my fiction nowadays is how deeply he was in viewpoint. When you read Aviendha, she is so different from when you read Mat that it's night and day. And that's something that I hope that I learned from him, that I wanted to learn from him, so that when you read Dalinar, Dalinar feels very different from Kaladin who feels very different from Shallan because they all see the world in a different way. Use of the third person limited is just... he was wonderful at that.

    San Diego Comic Con 2010 ()
    #3319 Copy

    Shawn Speakerman

    If Robert Jordan had been able to read [Way of Kings], what do you think he would say about it? What would he really love about it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You know, Robert Jordan loved (at least, from what I can tell in the notes, and listening to him talk) this idea of blending technology and magic in a lot of ways. If you read the Wheel of Time books, it's about the Industrial Revolution happening at the same time as the end of the world. We have steam technology and things appearing, and this is all background. It's not what the story was about. But I think he would be fascinated by that concept.

    Because I was always fascinated by the Age of Legends in the Wheel of Time books, where I wanted to... that influenced me in telling a story about worlds where we are seeing the beginnings of things like this. So, that might be something he would latch on to.

    I have no ability to speak actually for him. I never met Robert Jordan. I saw him once at a convention, I still feel stupid for not saying hello to him. There are so many people who know him better than I do. To me, he's kind of like this heroic figure, he's the Odysseus who came before. And he still remains that to me, because I never really got to know him personally. Whereas all the people I work with know him personally, I just know him as this hero.

    San Diego Comic Con 2010 ()
    #3320 Copy

    Shawn Speakerman

    So, obviously, since you spent ten years developing that kind of magic system for The Way of Kings, it can't be just a one-off book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it's the start of a large series. I originally pitched it, and I said, "This is ten books." And the publisher said, "Oh. Make sure you don't tell too many people that." (Which, it's already too late.) "Because either they'll hear that and be scared off because it's too big. Or eventually you'll be getting near the end, and you'll wanna extend it a book or two, and you'll have locked yourself in." But ten is a very mythological number in this series, and it is based on these ten Orders of Knights, and I'm pretty sure it'll be the ten books.

    One of the things I'm playing with is trying to figure a way that I can make a long series like that feel like individual books. You know, I want to have an epic series, but one of the problems with epic series is that you get a few books in, and you start to lose track. And it's hard to keep track of everything. I want each of the books to feel individual. And the way I'm doing that is, each book is essentially about one of the characters. And there are other characters that appear, other viewpoints and things, but in each book, we delve into one character's past and tell a complete story, beginning with having some flashbacks to what happened in their history, and having a full arc for that character. So each of the ten books... they take place chronologically, it's not like we're always jumping back and things like that, but in each character's book, we will see one character's past and history as it's influencing what's happening with them in the present. So, hopefully, that'll work something like Lost, or one of my models is the old Highlander TV series, with their wonderful use of blending flashback, where we can see a person's past and watch their present, and get a cohesive feel for each book. Hopefully.

    San Diego Comic Con 2010 ()
    #3321 Copy

    Shawn Speakerman

    You brought up the magic system [of Way of Kings], and it's fairly unique. It's hard to wrap your head around it at first, but once you get into the story it actually makes a lot of sense. So, how long did it take you to develop that actual aspect of the novel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on the book. For this one, it's been going for a long time. This is one of the magic systems I've just been playing with forever, the idea...

    Now, I describe the basics of the magic systems, and I'm worried that that will scare people off, because you don't need to know any of this stuff. The magic is fun, it should be just part of the story. But if you really wanna dig deeply, this one is based off the idea of fundamental forces. The [four] fundamental forces. Gravitation and electromagnetics and strong and weak nuclear forces. Those are the concepts that built this magic system, where I built an idea of a world with essentially ten fundamental forces, and built ten orders of Knights, each who learn to manipulate a type of these forces. So that is a growth over about ten years of work, to build this magic system with these ideas of "How can I make these fundamental forces manipulate them, what can it do? How can I make surface tension into a magic system? Or how can I make pressure into a magic system? Or gravitation that works in a magic system?"

    But in other ones, it's just a quirky idea that occurs to me. Warbreaker, I spent only about four months building the magic system for that; an idea, you know, sympathetic magic of bringing things to life and using Breath as a metaphor for someone's life just kind of fell into place and worked together, and I did it. It depends on the book.

    San Diego Comic Con 2010 ()
    #3322 Copy

    Shawn Speakerman

    Tell us a little about The Way of Kings.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Way of Kings is... it's many things. And I once heard Robert Jordan, someone ask him to describe the Wheel of Time. And he said, "Well, I can't say it in a few sentences. If I could, I would have written the books that length. You'll just have to read them." And part of me wants to say that for this book. I just don't even know how to describe it. I've been working on it for something like fifteen years. It's kind of the project of my heart that I've wanted to do for a long time but I didn't feel I had the momentum to do it until this point in my career.

    And it's about many things. On one hand, it's about Knights in magical platemail power armor that punch through walls and jump off buildings. There's that aspect. On the other hand, it's about the age of discovery in a world where magic is real. It's the dawning of an age of technology, but magical technology. It's the beginnings of something like that. So, for Wheel of Time fans, I describe it as the beginning of the Age of Legends. A story about something like that in a world where people are just starting to apply scientific reason to magical experience. And on the other side, it's a very individual story about a young man who gets recruited into, is essentially pressed into a terrible war where he's part of this crew of men who run siege equipment. He doesn't even get to fight, he runs this siege equipment and lives this terrible experience of people dying around him, and learning and growing and surviving in this terrible place.

    So it's all of those things. On one side it's the fun action; on the other side, it's me trying to deal with the ideas of magic and science blending. But really, it comes down to a story about character. Who are these people? The young man who's trapped, and the young woman who's essentially Pliny the Elder mixed with a little bit of Darwin. She's a scholar who's just kind at the beginnings of this age of discovery, who's sort of sketching these weird creatures she sees and applying reason to them. So, it's all over the place, but hopefully it coalesces into one awesome story. I hope.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
    #3323 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    When I spoke with EUOL he was pretty firm on the overarching shards books being 36 in number. I had actually asked him about Hoid's connection with White Sand as I had noticed something during his story. (Those of you who have read the preliminary White Sand will see the connection.)

    He also mentioned that he has a diagram of how the books relate to each other and the shards. He said that he may eventually publish it so we can see the connections, but that many more books would have to be written first.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
    #3325 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Over-arching thing with the shards of andonalsium: Brandon told me tonight that he actually has a chart/list thing with all of the books that he's planned in the shards universe. His exact words were something about having an arch over thirty-six books involving the shards of andonalsium. Which makes me wonder if we're going to get some of the story about andonalsium. He also said that there were only a few lines in each book to give us clues. Apparently there's something in the HoA, but I didn't notice anything when I read through it. Of course, I wasn't looking for it. He mentioned that there were 36, or possibly 38 (he couldn't remember which) books that would be in this universe. They included all of the mistborn books (all 3 trilogies), all of the Stormlight Chronicle, all of Dragonsteel, Elantris, Warbreaker, White Sands, the Other book that I mentioned but can't remember the title of, and others.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Some as of yet unwritten book that I can't remember the title of, but know that it included the word Divine. Anyway, it has a magic system in which the magic is caused by bacteria. Basically, the bacteria and parasites want their hosts to survive as long as possible, so they give them magic. The example Brandon used was that if someone caught the common cold, they could fly until they got over that cold.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Way of Kings: Is set on a strangely awesome world. Apparently, a super large storm (like hurricane size) passes across the Earth every few days. This happens in a very predictable cycle. Because of this, there is no soil anywhere, everything is stone. The plants and animals have adapted to this environment, so they are also pretty strange. The plants, for instance will be much like a coral reef. They have shells, or can withdraw into the ground, and do so when the storm comes. They also will do the same thing if you try to step on them and such. So like, as you're walking, the grass around you shrinks into the ground, and pokes back out again when you pass.

    I also found out that the Way of Kings is largely about the birth of magic, since Brandon was tired of fantasy books talking about the death of it. As such, most of the magic systems are largely unknown, and will be explored. There was at one previous time, several hundred years past, magic on the earth. However, it's been gone for a while, and is being rediscovered. There are a total of 30 planned magic systems, and the books will jump around chronologically between the present and character's pasts. The technology level is a typical fantasy, Renaissance minus gunpowder. At least I think that's what he said.

    He also mentioned these awesome suits of armor and like 6 foot long swords that he called "Shard Plate" and "Shard Blades." Apparently, they are the only relics left over from the time when mankind originally did have magic. Also, in the mythology of this world, mankind originally lived in heaven. However, a race of beings called (I think) the Voidbringers conquered heaven and basically cast mankind out to the earth. They made war on them again and tried to cast them out to hell, but mankind devised These Shard Blades and Shard Plate as a method of fighting the Voidbringers and were able to push them back. He also mentioned that the world is currently basically dominated by those who have these magical items, and one person with a suit of shard plate and a shard blade is basically the equivalent of an army. When I asked him if these were related to the Shards of Andonalsium at all, he said, "Maybe." He also confirmed that the Stormlight Chronicle (Way of Kings) takes place in the Shards universe.

    The reason Way of Kings is called the Stormlight Chronicle apparently has to do with the massive hurricanes that come through every few days. If you leave a gemstone out during the storm (and affix it to something so it won't blow away), it will gain magical properties. One of these is that they give off light, called stormlight. The other that he mentioned is that they can be used kind of like a battery, and are used to power the Shard Plate Suits.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Andrew The Great (paraphrased)

    If Denth had let Vasher erase part of his memories, would he still retain the skills he had learned during that time?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    To an extent. He would still have the reflexes and such, but skill isn't entirely reflexes, so he would lose the parts actually associated with memory. It would be easier for him to re-learn, due to his already having the reflexes, but he wouldn't be nearly as good at these skills without the memories or re-learning them. As a side note, Denth almost did it. Like really really close. He decided not to because he felt that he would be losing part of himself. And he would be right.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Andrew The Great (paraphrased)

    Why did the mist sickness only happen after the Lord Ruler's Death?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    It didn't. It just happened on a much smaller scale. As you remember, the Lord Ruler basically =stagnation. Because it seemed the Lord Ruler would be taking the power again (as was intended, and as apparently had been done many times before), and because of the extreme stability of the Final Empire, Preservation (though it really only had a shadow of it's mind left) wasn't as freaked out. After the LR died, Preservation began to attempt to create more allomancers for the reasons mentioned in question 7. It also left clues, such as the number 16 everywhere, so that people would know it was preservation doing it, and not just random chance, or ruin. Turns out that that didn't work so well.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Andrew The Great (paraphrased)

    Before the Ascension, why did the mists appear just as the well was gaining power? Did they come out at other times?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    This one is trickier. From what I got out of it, it's because the mists are a manifestaion of preservation, and physical manifestations of preservation (including allomancers) are intended to do two things - stop Ruin, and Protect the Well of Ascension. Which are kind of the same thing. So, when the Well was dormant, the mists didn't really have much to do. The deepness form of the mists is a result of the concious part of Preservation freaking out and trying to produce a way to protect the well, mostly by producing more allomancers. That's why the mists do all the funky things in the Well of Ascension and Hero of Ages - they're trying to produce more allomancers to combat Ruin.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Andrew The Great (paraphrased)

    Where do the mists go in the day, why do they just disappear?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The mists are kind of like the physical manifestation of Preservation's power. During the day, the power is still there, but the mists that accompany them during the night are burned away by the sun. So really, it's more that they are somehow linked to preservations power, and come out at night with the power, but they can't stay with the power during the day because of the sun.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Andrew The Great (paraphrased)

    What do the burnlands look like?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The burnlands are the area surrounding the Final Empire Area. They are liveable on the border, but as you get further and further from the final empire, they get more and more barren until eventually nothing can survive. Basically a really large desert. Brandon also mentioned that some koloss live there, because they can survive, and some humans live on the border. These humans actually have some technology that the final empire did not, because they needed it to survive, and/or because they were far enough from the oppression of the Lord Ruler to develop new things. Because of this, the border of the Burnlands would actually be a good setting for a game.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Andrew The Great (paraphrased)

    What benefit does an aluminum savant get?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Is it even possible to become an aluminum savant? You'd have to be burning aluminum consistently, and aluminum just kind of goes away in a burst.... After that, he discussed how being an aluminum misting will likely be considered a handicap in the Mistborn RPG because you can't pick up other allomantic abilities.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Andrew The Great (paraphrased)

    Does Lerasium have feruchemical and hemalurgical powers.

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes. Brandon will probably be getting into these, and the other metals hemalurgical and feruchemical powers, in greater detail in the future Mistborn Trilogies. He also will probably release full charts for these as he did with allomancy.

    Idaho Falls Signing ()
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    Andrew The Great (paraphrased)

    What would happen if a person were to burn a metal that was feruchemically charged using allomancy?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The metal used in allomancy is like a key or a doorway to the power that Allomancy actually uses. The metal acts as a filter, much as the Aons in Elantris do, to determine what the power actually does. However, if the metal is feruchemically charged, then it will basically become a super-burst of feruchemical power with no allomantic effect. The feruchemical charge acts as a filter as well as the metal, and changes what the power does. in this case, say you were burning steel, you would just be massively speedy for a second, and wouldn't actually have the ability to push on anything allomantically. Hope that answered the question. I get the concept, so if you need me to explain it differently, let me know and i'll try. Oh, the other thing I forgot is that this concept only works if it's a metal that you charged yourself. If it's a metal someone else charged, it would just work like regular allomancy, and the feruchemical charge would just cease to exist.

    Another Long and Rambling Post On Future Books ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    So, here’s my official future status, as I sometimes post.

    BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOON

    • Towers of Midnight (November 2.)
    • Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens (December 2010.)—A note on Alcatraz. This is the fourth and final of the Alcatraz books in my contract. I do plan there to be more in this series, but I don’t have time for them right now. And so, for now, this is going to stand as the ending of the series. I’ll do Alcatraz Five eventually, I promise.
    • Scribbler (Early 2012)—A note on Scribbler. This is a shorter steampunk book I wrote in 2007, just before I got the call about The Wheel of Time. It’s quite good, and Tor has decided to purchase it. It involves chalk-based magic and a boy who is the son of the cleaning lady at a school for people who learn the chalk magic. I haven’t had time to give it a revision, but will likely use some of the time in my free months between now and January to do a draft of it. If I turn it in January or February, you won’t see it until a year after that, due to scheduling.

    BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOMEWHAT SOON

    • A Memory of Light (March 2012.)
    • Stormlight Archive Book Two (Late 2012 or early 2013.)
    • Stormlight Archive Book Three (One year after Book Two.)

    ANTICIPATED SEQUELS

    • Alcatraz Five (Indefinite hiatus.)
    • Elantris Two (Planned to be written after Stormlight Three.)
    • Second Mistborn trilogy (It’s coming someday, I promise.)
    • Nightblood: Book two of Warbreaker (Coming someday.)—Some notes here. Elantris has three books in the series, but they are loose sequels of each other. This means that side characters in one become main characters in the next. So while you’ll see Raoden and Sarene in the second book, they won’t be main characters. (Kiin’s children will be.) Warbreaker is two books. Mistborn is a trilogy of trilogies, with the second trilogy in an urban (20th-century-level technology) setting. For Stormlight, I’m planning a pattern of two every three years, with a different epic—a standalone, or one of the sequels mentioned above—in between. Thus the Elantris sequel is next in line after Stormlight Three, which would be followed by Stormlight Four and Five.

    MAYBE COMING SOMEDAY BUT ONLY PARTIALLY WRITTEN

    • Dark One (YA dark fantasy.)
    • Steelheart (Superhero apocalypse.)
    • The King’s Necromancer
    • The Silence Divine (Shardworld novel, standalone.)
    • White Sand (Shardworld trilogy.)
    • The Liar of Partinel (Shardworld novel, one of two.)
    • Dragonsteel (Major Shardworld epic. Won’t be written until Stormlight is done.)

    POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR MY TIME OFF

    • Mistborn short story (Looking likely.)
    • Unnamed urban fantasy (This is what I’m working on right now. Watch Twitter/Facebook for updates on this story. It involves a necromancer pizza deliveryman as a protagonist.)
    • Scribbler revisions (Will almost certainly be done.)
    • Finishing one of the unfinished novels mentioned above (Not likely, but you never know.)

    Who knows when/if anything written during my side-project time will get published. Sometimes, these stories are too unformed (as I like to be very free and loose when I write them) to make it. On other occasions, there isn’t time to do revisions on them. (I write initial books very quickly, but spend many months in revision.) For instance, Alcatraz books were my deviations for 2005 and 2006, and the first of those came out very quickly. Scribbler was the one for 2007, and it won’t be published for a year or so yet. I didn’t have time for much in the way of deviations in 2008 or 2009, just the unfinished projects I mentioned above.

    We shall see. As always, thank you for reading and supporting me in this compulsive writing addiction of mine.

    Another Long and Rambling Post On Future Books ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART FOUR: STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE PUBLICATION SCHEDULE

    Now on to Stormlight Two. (The title was originally Highprince of War, but I’m feeling in my outlining that this book needs to be weighted more toward Shallan, so a different title is likely). I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place here on this one. Writing a Stormlight book, like writing a Wheel of Time book, is a huge undertaking. Getting one of each out in the same year required fourteen-hour days, six days a week, for a good year and a half. I can’t ask my family to go through that again. Beyond that, the buffer is gone. (I still had a little bit of it when working on Towers of Midnight—not to mention the first version of The Way of Kings that I’d written in 2002. I threw it away and started over, but having written it once before sped the process a great deal.)

    So . . . what do I do? I’m feeling right now that I will go straight into Stormlight Two after A Memory of Light. But that means (at very best) it won’t be out until the fall of 2012. I don’t really have a choice, however. The Wheel of Time fans have waited too long for their ending already. I need to do AMoL, and I need to do it right, no matter how long it takes. So I can’t make any promises about Stormlight Two except that I won’t take a break after AMoL, but will go right into it and try to have it done in time for the fall 2012 season.

    That means, by a quirk of the publishing business, that I have two epics this year, none next year, and two the following year. (If I meet my Stormlight deadline, which may or may not happen.) Still, this is what I’m planning to do. Barring something unexpected, this is what you should anticipate. I don’t think there will be a book at all from me next year, which punches me in the gut. But that’s what we get for pushing to have two books out last year and two books this year.

    Another Long and Rambling Post On Future Books ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART THREE: WARNINGS

    And so, we’re entering the “refresh and work on side projects” stage of the writing process. I did this after The Gathering Storm, and I really need it now. I am therefore taking time off between now and January first. I get to write anything I want. It will probably be bizarre and unexpected; things that keep me fresh, things I haven’t tried before.

    I ask your forbearance. I do believe that as a writer who has begun series, it is my responsibility to see that the other pieces of the story are written in a timely manner. However—and it may seem odd—I need to work on these other things to keep my next Wheel of Time and Stormlight installments good. It’s how my process works.

    So, that’s the first warning. I’m taking a break for three months. The second warning is that I can’t promise I’ll hit the final deadline on the Wheel of Time series. (The last one was supposed to be out in November 2011.) The problem is this: starting January, it will have been three years since I read the Wheel of Time series start to finish. That’s too long. I’m starting to forget things. I won’t feel comfortable starting the final book until I’ve done another re-read, and this is going to slow me down by three or four months. It’s an unexpected delay I didn’t fit into my original projections of how long it would take me to write the books.

    If I miss the deadline (which is more likely than not) it won’t be by much. A few months, likely the same amount of time it takes me to do the re-read. But it is what must be done. So, I’d suggest that we set MARCH 2012 as the expected date of A Memory of Light. I suspect there will be some grumbling about this, but I feel I should let you know now, rather than later. It won’t be an enormous delay, however. If my previous track record earns me anything, I hope it is the benefit of the doubt when it comes to me promising the release dates of books. I won’t leave you hanging too long.

    Another Long and Rambling Post On Future Books ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART TWO: BUFFERS AND MY WRITING SPEED

    Because of this, and because of my writing style, I need a little bit of a break before I tackle it. I pushed myself very hard to get both Towers of Midnight and The Way of Kings ready for publication this year. Even then, it was only possible because I had written a sizable chunk of Towers of Midnight while working on The Gathering Storm AND because I’d already finished an early version of The Way of Kings.

    People have mentioned before that I am somewhat prolific. Some of this is an illusion. For a while now, I’ve been warning people that we’ve been chewing through my buffer at a frightening rate. Once upon a time, I would turn in a book three years before it was scheduled to come out. This gave me a lot of wiggle room. If a book wasn’t working, I could shelve it and think about it, then get back to it. Working that far ahead prevents most big crunches.

    However, the books I’ve been working on lately were a little more high profile than previous ones—and high-profile books get released when they get turned in, not three years later. So, though I took eighteen months finishing The Gathering Storm, it looked like I finished it very quickly. (I turned it in during the summer of 2009, and it came out in the fall of 2009. Warbreaker came out that same year, though I’d turned it in back in 2006.) The very long write of that book was invisible to a lot of readers because books I’d written years before continued to come out while I was working on it.

    The buffer is gone now. I’ll talk more about that later. However, I want to mention something else that helps me be productive—and that’s allowing myself deviations to keep myself interested. I’ve told people before that I wrote the Alcatraz books to give me a break between Mistborn novels. If I’m able to refresh myself on other projects, I don’t get burned out on the big epics. (Which are my true love, but can be very demanding on me mentally.)

    Another Long and Rambling Post On Future Books ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    PART ONE: WHEEL OF TIME BOOKS PUBLICATION TIMELINE

    I posted earlier that Towers of Midnight is done, turned in, and ready for a November second release. I’m feeling pretty good (though a little frazzled) at managing to get it in on deadline, by the promised date I gave you all in the blog post I made regarding splitting the novels. I stand by what I said there. I’m not expanding the outline left to me; I’m telling the same story I would have, even if the book hadn’t been split. The order of chapters will be different in some cases, but nothing will be deleted or added.

    Current projections are for the final book, A Memory of Light, to be about the length of the other two. (Around three hundred thousand words, or eight hundred pages in hardcover.) There are some who are hoping for it to be huge, the biggest in the series, but I will write it at the length it needs to be. I’ve finished two books, and have done two-thirds of the outline. So that gives a good indication that the final chunk will be the same length as the other two.

    However, I do have to acknowledge that this is going to be the hardest chunk, for several reasons. The number of plots to be dealt with, the number of characters that need to be balanced, the sheer tactics and logistics of the Last Battle . . . there is a lot going on in this book, and it will be orders of magnitude more difficult than the previous two novels.

    Another Long and Rambling Post On Future Books ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    All,

    Let’s do a quick (okay, it’s me, so it won’t be quick) update to let everyone know what’s going on here at Dragonsteel Entertainment HQ. (Also known as me sitting on a chair in my bedroom while my eight-month-old son throws half-eaten graham crackers at me.)

    Warning, this is another of my trademarked long and rambling blog posts. So, I’ve put in some arbitrary headings to help break things up and keep it focused. At the bottom, there’s a quick timeline of books I’m working on or plan to work on soon.

    17th Shard Interview ()
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    17th Shard

    Can you elaborate more on cadmium and bendalloy's effects? Like, if you're speeding up time, are you speeding up time for you in the bubble or what?

    17th Shard

    Can you elaborate more on cadmium and bendalloy's effects? Like, if you're speeding up time, are you speeding up time for you in the bubble or what?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Anything in the bubble. You create a space around you of sped-up space-time, and anything that gets in there moves more slowly. Like, let's say that I shot a bullet at you and you popped it with sped-up time. That bullet would move really slowly. Everything around you would be slowed. Ah, no, but you would be the same so when the bullet entered it would go the same speed that you are going, but once it's out, it's either faster or slower. Does that make sense?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Anything in the bubble. You create a space around you of sped-up space-time, and anything that gets in there moves more slowly. Like, let's say that I shot a bullet at you and you popped it with sped-up time. That bullet would move really slowly. Everything around you would be slowed. Ah, no, but you would be the same so when the bullet entered it would go the same speed that you are going, but once it's out, it's either faster or slower. Does that make sense?

    17th Shard

    Yeah, it does, it does. And it's the same with bendalloy, just…

    17th Shard

    Yeah, it does, it does. And it's the same with bendalloy, just…

    Brandon Sanderson

    Reversed, yeah. It can have some really powerful effects, but the problem is, you can't change anything. As soon as you get close enough to change it, it's in there with you. So, if you were using it the right way you could dodge bullets, as long as you were able to get it off before the bullet got too close to you, but that's hard to do.

    And, if you're the one who can slow time, you could get someone in your bubble and slow time, then let everyone else move more quickly around you, which, of course, takes a lot more practice to use. You've got to have a buddy who's outside the bubble but who you could stop, he could stop you, and we would see time move the same but everything around us would go super fast. If people were ready for that they could make use of it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Reversed, yeah. It can have some really powerful effects, but the problem is, you can't change anything. As soon as you get close enough to change it, it's in there with you. So, if you were using it the right way you could dodge bullets, as long as you were able to get it off before the bullet got too close to you, but that's hard to do.

    And, if you're the one who can slow time, you could get someone in your bubble and slow time, then let everyone else move more quickly around you, which, of course, takes a lot more practice to use. You've got to have a buddy who's outside the bubble but who you could stop, he could stop you, and we would see time move the same but everything around us would go super fast. If people were ready for that they could make use of it.

    17th Shard Interview ()
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    17th Shard

    Will you ever write a book or series where different magic systems come into the same world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Where different magic systems come into the same world. Um…I have already.

    17th Shard

    Published novels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    17th Shard

    I mean like different magic systems from different worlds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's what I said.

    You're asking if I'll do it obviously. Where that's the focus of the novel? Someday I might. Right now I've been planning in the back of my head, but I'm not sure if I'll do it. See, here's the thing: I like all of this stuff to be behind the scenes; I don't want any reader to walk up on the shelf and pull it out and feel like they are completely lost because they have to read 27 Sanderson novels before this one makes sense. And so that would be my hesitance in ever doing that. But I already have in very subtle ways. And if were going to do a conflux book, I might just post it on my website. I don't know, I'm not sure. It depends on how popular the things are and whatnot. But, I don't think I want to do that to my casual readers.

    17th Shard

    Right, they wouldn't have any of the background.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right, they wouldn't have any of the background. Thing is, some of the magic systems do cross worlds, and have before. And that has not happened obviously; you haven't really seen it. Right now Liar of Partinel and Stormlight Archives share a magic system, because with the unifying theory of magic there's a certain number of things that magic can do, and there's a lot of different ones, but when they get similar they tend to work in the same way. So Lightweaving shows up in both books. I may change that for Liar of Partinel, but it's kind of integral to that book and it's kind of integral to Stormlight Archive right now too. This is one of the reasons why I had to decide to do either Dragonsteel or Stormlight Archive as the big epic.

    Some of the magic systems have been discovered on different planets, and some of them do work. A lot of them don't, but some of them do. It depends on your spiritual DNA, what people are able to do, and things like that. But, if you find a way to do illusion magic in one of my worlds it's going to work pretty much like Lightweaving, regardless of which planet you're on. If that makes sense.

    17th Shard Interview ()
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    17th Shard

    Can you burn the spikes? Like, Allomantically? For example, could they burn the steel in their head spikes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I considered that and I eventually decided that they could, but it would be an excruciating process that would probably knock them unconscious simply by doing it.

    17th Shard

    Would they be able to tap?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Would they tap them? They can use them as metalminds, yes.

    17th Shard Interview ()
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    17th Shard

    Very careful roleplayers have counted the numbers of Inquisitors appearing in the novels and they claim there must have been 25 if Vin and Elend killed two Inquisitors between Mistborn 2 and Mistborn 3. Could you clarify the numbers of Inquisitors there were? They've literally counted.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They literally, yeah…No, I mean, I've got it written down somewhere. I'm now so separated from this book. I had always imagined there being around three dozen Inquisitors at any given time.

    17th Shard

    Oh, okay, so quite a bit more than 20.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. Well the thing you've gotta remember is that, with the powers they're given, they're pretty much immune to disease and things like that, particularly after they've gained their healing spike.

    17th Shard

    Right. Is that common to all Inquisitors?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does not come to all. It comes to almost all. That's a pretty common one, but being an Inquisitor does not mean you get it. I think it mentions in the books that there's one spike that they all get, but I can't remember what it is.

    17th Shard

    I would imagine that would…well, okay, a steel spike so they could see.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. Yeah, obvious, but the thing is you've gotta have a Keeper to be able give a healing spike. The ones alive now pretty much all have healing spikes, but there were times throughout history when he needed a new Inquisitor and he didn't have a Keeper (a Feruchemist) handy. He could make an Inquisitor without that. That is not what's keeping them alive from the spikes being driven through their bodies.

    17th Shard

    So the linchpin spike is not always the same type of spike.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It doesn't have to be. The linchpin spike is just, when you're putting that many spikes together into somebody it needs a spike to coordinate them all. That is part of what's holding their body together from all of this damage, and it doesn't have to be the healing spike. The nature of Feruchemy is separate from that, if that makes any sense. For instance, you could put a few spikes into an Inquisitor without a linchpin spike, and they wouldn't die.